Course Outline
Join PRO

What is a toxic asset?

Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

I would define a toxic asset as an investment whose value has dropped significantly and there is no market in which to sell the asset.

To illustrate, let’s assume that at the peak of the real estate market you lent $150,000 to someone who was purchasing a house for $170,000. In other words, you made a $150,000 investment and recorded it as the asset Mortgage Loan Receivable. The house is the collateral for the loan receivable. Within one year, the local housing market drops by 30% and the borrower loses her job. She stops making the loan payments and at that point your Mortgage Loan Receivable account shows a balance of $147,000. This scenario is widespread in your community and houses are not selling.

I would consider your Mortgage Loan Receivable to be a toxic asset. There are few investors willing to purchase a loan without payments being made by the borrower, the value of the collateral has dropped to less than $120,000 ($170,000 minus the 30% average drop in value), and a lot of houses are for sale with virtually no buyers.

Join PRO to Track Progress
Must-Watch Video

Advance Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Career

  • Perform better at your job
  • Get hired for a new position
  • Understand your small business
  • Pass your accounting class
Watch the Video

Join PRO or PRO Plus and Get Lifetime Access to Our Premium Materials

Read all 2,645 reviews



PRO Plus

Lifetime Access (One-Time Fee)
Word Scrambles
Bookkeeping Video Training
Financial Statements Video Training
Visual Tutorials
Quick Tests
Quick Tests with Coaching
Cheat Sheets
Business Forms
All PDF Files
Progress Tracking
Earn Badges and Points
Certificate - Debits and Credits
Certificate - Adjusting Entries
Certificate - Financial Statements
Certificate - Balance Sheet
Certificate - Income Statement
Certificate - Cash Flow Statement
Certificate - Working Capital
Certificate - Financial Ratios
Certificate - Bank Reconciliation
Certificate - Payroll Accounting

About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on

Learn More About Harold

Certificates of

Certificates of Achievement

We now offer 10 Certificates of Achievement for Introductory Accounting and Bookkeeping:

  • Debits and Credits
  • Adjusting Entries
  • Financial Statements
  • Balance Sheet
  • Income Statement
  • Cash Flow Statement
  • Working Capital and Liquidity
  • Financial Ratios
  • Bank Reconciliation
  • Payroll Accounting
Badges and Points
  • Work towards and earn 30 badges
  • Earn points as you work towards completing our course
View PRO Plus Features
Course Outline
Take the Tour Join Pro Upgrade to Pro Plus