The latest research findings, courtesy of CoreLogic, show that as we began the 2nd quarter of 2013, we still had FIVE states showing at least 30% of the mortgaged properties as being in "negative equity". Even though the national average just dropped to slightly below 20%.
Not be be negative here, but the fact that there are still one in five homes with negative equity across the country, while Nevada, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, and Georgia all have more than 30% in that position, remains cause for concern.
To those homeowners, it makes little to no difference that the national average has dropped slightly from last year to this one. At this rate of decrease, it would mean several years before this crippling problem would be behind us. This many people shouldn't have to wait that long.
Yet, here we go again with various realty associations pointing out how wonderful this decline is and how the market is improving.
One example appeared in a Milwaukee Journal article a couple of days ago, in which Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors President Mike Ruzicka was quoted. The same CoreLogic statistics showed that in the four-county Milwaukee area the percentage of negative-equity homes actually grew during the same time period that both the state and national averages dropped slightly.
Ruzicka was quoted as questioning how this could have happened compared to the report's other findings.
I'm sure that Mr. Ruzicka would not agree with everything I said and did while doing my job over the past few weeks. This is not meant to be a personal attack. Rather, it is an example of what is happening within the real estate community. Too much denial and not enough action.
You see, even if the Milwaukee negative equity situation had actually declined in line with the national average, it doesn't change how about one in five current homeowners continue in negative equity. They can't sell for a profit, or even to break even and walk away. A couple of percentage points does NOT change this situation.
As you know, I constantly complain about how realty associations continue to issue such statistics which really show how much work needs to be done to make the real estate market viable instead of the "improved" trend they try to present.
This type of quote continues to come from realty associations around the country, not just Milwaukee. For some reason, we have literally thousands of realty agents acting as if things are much improved when the reality is they are not.
What we should be reading is about what the realty associations and their member base are actually doing to SOLVE the problem. Make it "our" problem, instead of "your" problem, and we'll all be happy.
Disputing the statistics, when the entity in which he represents puts out its share of negative market statistics doesn't accomplish a thing.
Taking this information head-on and addressing it just might accomplish something.
If I were able to answer for Mr. Ruzicka, here is how I would have handled it:
"Even if the Milwaukee area showed negative equity reduction to below the national average, there are still too many local homeowners that need our help. As soon as we clear up the mess with multiple foreclosures and short sales taking away the fair pricing in the market, you'll see an important increase in equity. That is our priority right now, far above questioning the specifics of that CoreLogic report."
Those faced with negative equity on their houses, Milwaukee and elsewhere, yet making their payments and doing their share as promised, deserve a lot better than being a mere statistic to be commented on.