A mortgage is considered underwater if the homeowner owes more on the mortgage than the assessed value of the property, also referred to as negative home equity. In both Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, more than half of all homes are underwater, with Paterson just behind at 49 percent.
The beginning of 2014 saw a rise in a specific type of foreclosure, according to housing data website RealtyTrac. Distressed homeowners in the process of foreclosure have decided to simply abandon their homes avoiding the traditional foreclosure process altogether. These “zombie foreclosures” actually end up stalling the typical foreclosure process completely and are becoming a burden on the overall housing market in New Jersey.