Underwater Mortgage

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Underwater Mortgage'

A home purchase loan with a higher balance than the free-market value of the home. This situation prevents the homeowner from selling the home unless s/he has cash to pay the loss out of pocket. It also prevents the homeowner from refinancing in most cases. Thus, if the homeowner wants to sell the home because s/he can't afford the mortgage payments anymore, perhaps because of a job loss, the home will fall into foreclosure unless the borrower is able to renegotiate the loan.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Underwater Mortgage'

Underwater mortgages became commonplace in the aftermath of the 2000s housing bubble burst, and, combined with a bad economy, resulted in numerous foreclosures. In nonrecourse states, where mortgage lenders can't pursue borrowers for more money once their homes have foreclosed, many borrowers who could still afford their mortgage and other bill payments strategically defaulted on their underwater mortgages because they believed they were cutting the losses from a bad investment.

VIDEO

RELATED TERMS
  1. Foreclosure - FCL

    A situation in which a homeowner is unable to make principal ...
  2. Mortgage

    A debt instrument, secured by the collateral of specified real ...
  3. Delinquent Mortgage

    A mortgage for which the borrower has failed to make payments ...
  4. Bank-Owned Property

    Properties that are taken into a bank's inventory, after a foreclosure ...
  5. Subprime Borrower

    A person who is considered a higher-than-normal credit risk. ...
  6. Mortgage Application

    A document submitted by one or more individuals applying to borrow ...
Related Articles
  1. Home & Auto

    Homeowners, Beware These Scams!

    If you're in a pinch for money, you're the prime target for con artists and thieves.
  2. Options & Futures

    Short Sell Your Home To Avoid Foreclosure

    Are you in danger of losing your home? Protect your credit score with a real estate short sale.
  3. Personal Finance

    Avoiding Foreclosure Scams

    If you want to save your home, avoid bogus offers and take matters into your own hands.
  4. Home & Auto

    Mortgage Options For Underwater Homeowners

    Find out what options are available when your mortgage is greater than the value of your home.
  5. Options & Futures

    Saving Your Home From Foreclosure

    Learn the tactics you can use to prevent your home from being repossessed.
  6. Personal Finance

    How Will The Subprime Mess Impact You?

    The subprime collapse could mean doom and gloom for housing, equities and the overall economy.
  7. Home & Auto

    Are any arm's-length transactions disadvantageous to both parties?

    Find out why arm's-length transactions are disadvantageous when the interests of the two parties coincide and they wish to deal below the true market value.
  8. Credit & Loans

    Are APRs different in different countries?

    Learn about the term APR and how it is used in the United States and other countries. Explore why different lenders charge different APRs.
  9. Credit & Loans

    What loans do and don't have an APR?

    Learn about what annual percentage rates (APR) are and what they mean. Explore different fixed and variable APRs charge by different lenders.
  10. Home & Auto

    What is the difference between capitalization rate and rent?

    Find out the difference between capitalization rate and rent and why they are so important to making wise investments.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Multiplier Effect

    The expansion of a country's money supply that results from banks being able to lend. The size of the multiplier effect depends ...
  2. Command Economy

    A system where the government, rather than the free market, determines what goods should be produced, how much should be ...
  3. Prospectus

    A formal legal document, which is required by and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that provides details ...
  4. Treasury Bond - T-Bond

    A marketable, fixed-interest U.S. government debt security with a maturity of more than 10 years. Treasury bonds make interest ...
  5. Weight Of Ice, Snow Or Sleet Insurance

    Financial protection against damage caused to property by winter weather specifically, damage caused if a roof caves in because ...
  6. Weather Insurance

    A type of protection against a financial loss that may be incurred because of rain, snow, storms, wind, fog, undesirable ...
Trading Center