Housing’s long hangover: 42% of Georgia mortgages still underwater

From the AJC’s More than 40 percent of Georgia homes are underwater:

The nationwide data, complied by Zillow at the end of last year, identified the worst 1 percent of ZIP codes in terms of the percentage of mortgage holders who owe more than their homes are worth. Georgia has nearly a quarter of those ZIP codes, most of them arrayed in a crescent around Atlanta’s southern flank. Michigan, the next hardest-hit state, has only half as many ZIP codes in the worst 1 percent.

The biggest losers, of course, are individual homeowners. But the consequences continue to ripple outward — even as home values are rebounding in other parts of the region. […]

Statewide, 42.1 percent of Georgia homeowners with mortgages are underwater. Nationally, it’s 27.5 percent.

Svenja Gudell, a senior economist at Zillow, said she expects Georgia’s numbers to remain worse than the national average for some time. She noted that markets like Phoenix, which also was hammered in the recession, are seeing home prices recover more quickly than Atlanta.

The title of the piece should obviously be more precise. Many homes have no mortgage debt, so the 42.1 percent is only for those that do have mortgages.

Still, that’s frighteningly high.

Given transportation costs, infrastructure costs, and Atlanta’s legendary traffic, I’m guessing that prices might never truly recover in some of the metro areas far flung suburbs.