Nye County tops state with 29 percent of homes ‘seriously underwater’

Nevada has found itself atop the list of states with the highest percent of underwater homes in the country and Nye County was a major contributor to that ranking.

In a report of fourth-quarter numbers put out by research firm RealtyTrac from California, Nevada came in with 23.9 percent of home mortgages significantly underwater at the end of 2015. RealtyTrac describes a home being significantly underwater as a loan that’s at least 25 percent higher than the home’s value.

Nye County topped the state with 29.2 percent of homes in the county being listed as seriously underwater. Clark County came in just behind Nye County, having 27.7 percent of homes seriously underwater.

The report showed that out of the 21,957 housing units in Nye County, 2,797 of those were significantly underwater.

Kim Washington, broker with Access Realty, said that she hasn’t dealt with many underwater clients as of late and said that the amount of homeowners that are upside down in their homes has decreased over the past few years.

“The ones that are selling right now are not underwater,” she said. “If that was a year ago, maybe, but I find that number to be a bit high.”

With each year that passes since the housing market crash of 2007, home values have steadily gotten better and now Washington said that some are yielding positive returns.

“My owners were renting them out over the past year and literally the ones that were upside down a year ago, a lot of them are positive now,” she said.

Local realtor Norma Jean Opatik from Realty Executives explained that a lot of those who are underwater with their homes are because of buying a home at a bad time.

“The reason for the high number is that they purchased in an inflated market. They’re possibly underwater, but they overpaid for their home,” Opatik said. “That was not a normal market. I believe we’re are closer to a normal market right now.”

Opatik concurred with Washington, as she has seen improvement over the last year and foresees that trend continuing into the future.

“Now you’re finding that we’re selling close to market value, we’re not there yet, but we’re close. There is some appreciation happening now, so they’re able to walk away with some money,” she said. “We just got past the seven-year ARM’s (Adjustable Rate Mortgages) and the 10-year ARM’s are right around the corner, but I don’t think we’re going to see that anymore. Once those are gone, we’re going to be back in a normal market.”

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.