Negative Equity

DEFINITION of 'Negative Equity'

When the value of an asset falls below the outstanding balance on the loan used to purchase that asset. Negative equity is calculated simply by taking the value of the asset less the balance on the outstanding loan.

BREAKING DOWN 'Negative Equity'

Negative equity often occurs when a homeowner purchases a house using a mortgage and then the economy starts to slow or home prices start to drop. After the house purchase, the value of the home decreases below the value of the amount owed on the mortgage, causing negative equity.

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