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What's it take to be in the home equity elite?

Kenneth R. Harney on

Close behind is ZIP code 11220, the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn, New York, where prices range from $428,000 for a two-bedroom apartment to more than $1 million. More than 74 percent of the owner residents here have mortgage debt that is less than half of what their properties are worth.

Then there's San Antonio, Texas, where ZIP code 78207 has a current median list price around $100,000, but you can get a five-bedroom detached house for $159,900. More than 71 percent of the owners in this relatively modestly priced neighborhood are equity rich.

So although regions with high priced homes -- think San Jose, California, and the Washington D.C. metro area -- statistically are more likely to be flush with equity, more moderately priced neighborhoods and cities can have impressive numbers among the equity rich. In fact, according to ATTOM, substantial percentages of homes valued from under $100,000 to $300,000 qualify for the same, elite category.

-- Not surprisingly, longevity of ownership of a house is statistically correlated with higher equity holdings. ATTOM found that houses owned for more than 20 years are five times more likely to be equity rich compared with homes owned for less than a year.

Bottom line: Want to build big equity if you're not an all-cash buyer? Stay put. Don't pile on debt. And pay the mortgage.


Ken Harney's email address is

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



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