MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A property data firm says they've crunched the numbers and one Memphis ZIP code is listed as one of the top five spots in the country with the highest share of seriously underwater properties.
We're not talking about flooding. The term "underwater" means owners owe more on the homes than what they're actually worth.
ATTOM data solutions released their 2018 year-end U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report, and the results are not good for the 38106 ZIP code in South Memphis. It's listed as one of the top five places in the country with the highest share of seriously underwater properties.
According to the report, at the end of last year, more than 60 percent of properties with home loans in 38106 — more than 1,800 properties — were underwater.
"I like to break it down because they don't necessarily know what underwater means. So, they have more loan than they have value in their house," explained Roshun Austin, president and CEO of The Works Incorporated.
She's worked with home mortgages for more than 20 years.
"What we found after the housing crisis, even more than we had seen before, was that the values of properties in our neighborhoods, distressed neighborhoods had plummeted. And so that didn't mean that the mortgages changed to match that new appraisal or assessment of that property," Austin explained.
She believes it happened across the board in many communities in 2008. But some, like South Memphis' 38106, didn't recover as well.
Being underwater affects homeowners if they're trying to move, refinance or get a loan to make repairs.
But Austin says other things must be done to address the issue. Her nonprofit is working on other efforts in community development, addressing policy issues making it difficult to rebuild in the inner city.
"So we have to do some improvements beyond the individual house. So that means we need to have infrastructure improvements, things that haven't been touched in 50 years," Austin said. "The pipes, sewers. It's difficult to build in these neighborhoods today."
But those improvements could mean businesses investing back in the neighborhood, bringing up home values.
If you're interested in learning more about The Works,Inc. you can click herehttp://theworkscdc.org/
The Works was created to meet the housing needs of south Memphis.