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St. Louis Vets are Seriously Underwater—and It’s Not Their Fault

With underwater homes in St. Louis and across the nation at their lowest rates in years, homeowners seem optimistic about the housing market, as any St. Louis mortgage broker would agree. However, one core group of Americans has not felt this relief, and in St. Louis, a closer look at the data tells a different story.

The term “seriously underwater” is as grave as it sounds, and it applies to a shocking number of St. Louisans. “Seriously underwater” is here defined as a home where $1.25 is owed for every $1 the home is worth. In their year-end home equity report, ATTOM Data Solutions revealed that despite “high equity” homes reaching all-time highs, communities like St. Louis had some notable exceptions.

Homeowners in these St. Louis communities are among the most seriously underwater:

  • 63137 (Bellefontaine Neighbors) 64.83%
  • 63136 (Bellefontaine Neighbors) 57.35%
  • 62206 (Cahokia) 49.69%
  • 63121 (Normandy) 46.05%
  • 63115 (St. Louis City) 43.86%
  • 63134 (Berkeley) 42.99%
  • 63135 (Ferguson) 42.57%
  • 63138 (Spanish Lake) 40.13%

Altogether, upwards of 10,000 St. Louisans’ mortgages are seriously underwater, and veterans are amongst the highest at risk. In 1944, the U.S. government created the VA home loan program for military members with the intent of helping millions of service-people become placed into an affordable home financing situation. Men and women, who sacrifice so much, should be able to afford and live comfortably in a home of their own. The VA attempts to ensure veterans have access to affordable, easily obtainable loans, and works with them to prevent default and foreclosure. However, this means as veterans’ home values slump, they are encouraged to hold their losses and continue paying off their underwater mortgages. And for those who do default, their problems only compound.

Veterans who default on their mortgages take a big hit to their credit rating and FICO score, which can make it difficult or impossible to obtain another VA loan and try again. They may find returning to active duty or even the private sector difficult as well, as a VA loan default shows negatively on security clearance applications. Across the nation, the data shows veterans in St. Louis are not the only ones suffering: according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, of the top 10 most underwater counties across the nation, fully half are veteran or active-duty communities.

All this means choosing your VA home loan provider is an extremely important decision, and can shape your financial future as well as your career. Liberty Lending Consultants, a St. Louis mortgage company, works specifically with veterans to ensure your unique loan is handled with care. Liberty Lending respects the unique challenges veterans face and provides a bevy of mortgage benefits including no PMI, no down payment, no VA funding fees, and 100% financing. Liberty Lending Consultants is committed to helping veterans in St. Louis becomes homeowners with competitive VA home loans.

VA loans are limited to active duty military, veterans, reservists, and spouses of those in the military or military veterans. When applying for a VA loan, applicants should prepare copies of their two most recent W-2 statements, their two most recent pay stubs, documentation of other assets, and proof of discharge if applicable.

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