An upside-down house
An upside-down house - 
Listen To The Story


Scott Jagow: I imagine it's scary if you owe more on your home than your house is worth. It's called being upside down on your mortgage. A study out today says more than seven million properties are in that situation. Nancy Marshall Genzer has more.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: The study was conducted in the third quarter of this year by First American CoreLogic. The study says almost 20 percent of mortgage borrowers have negative equity. But it's not clear that all of those mortgage holders will go into foreclosure.

Guy Cecala is the publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance:

Guy Cecala: But not all of that 20 percent, or 1 out of every 5 borrowers, is in financial problems. So the other question you have is, to what extent will people who figure out they owe more than their house is worth, and really won't be making anything other than what amounts to a rental payment, are going to start walking away from their homes.

Cecala says that's not clear, because we don't have enough experience with mounting foreclosures to know what people will do.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.