Mention real estate to pretty much anyone in the US and they will no doubt roll their eyes, and then offer an example of someone who has been affected by the real estate bubble which has sent rippling shock waves across the country after the burst in 2008.
US home values were at their pear in 2007, but currently many homeowners are underwater in their mortgages, meaning they owe more than their home is worth.
Seattle-based online real estate portal Zillow, offers an interactive map with which users can discover what percentage of homes in their county or ZIP code are in negative equity, based on Zillow's first quarter 2012 data.
The company worked with Stamen Design to create the interactive tool. The map calculates the negative equity of property by matching the estimated value of a home to all outstanding mortgage debt and lines of credit associated with the home, including home equity lines of credit and home equity loans, supplied by TransUnion, a global leader in credit and information management. All personally identifying information ("PII") is removed from the data by TransUnion before delivery to Zillow.
The counties and ZIP codes in the highest percentiles (1st, 5th, 10th and 20th percentiles) of negative equity are marked with a badge. Negative equity is calculated for owner-occupied homes with mortgages for more than 800 metros, 2,100 counties, and 22,200 ZIP codes. According to Zillow, the negative equity map will be updated quarterly.
Zillow claims it offers the most broad and accurate public source of negative equity information with its map.