Nearly Half of Chicago Mortgages Have Negative Equity

Worse than the national average, but not as bad as other cities

By Al Romero
|  Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011  |  Updated 8:49 AM CDT
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Back in the late 90s and into the early years of the 2000s, real estate was the key to a financial windfall. Your home wasn't just your castle, it was a safe investment and a guaranteed money-maker. 

Try telling that to nearly half the people in the Chicago area who have a mortgage.

A new report by real estate website Zillow shows that in the third quarter of this year 46 percent of single-family homes that are mortgaged have negative equity, meaning the value of the home is less than what is owed on the mortgage, reported the Chicago Tribune.

According to Zillow, that figure is worse than the national average, which stands at 28.6 percent for the third quarter. But Zillow points out that Chicago's housing market is still better than other cities, such as Phoenix and Las Vegas, which are suffering through a huge housing crisis.

That's small comfort to someone who is trying to sell a home. In the third quarter, Zillow's report shows 43.4 percent of homes sold in the Chicago area sold for a loss.

Despite the grim statistics, Zillow's chief of economics told the newspaper he believes we are closer to the end of the housing recession than the beginning.

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