However, despite these improvements, 10.4 million people across the country -- accounting for 21.5 percent of all homeowners -- were still underwater on their mortgages at the end of last year, the report said. That was down from 12.1 million at the start of 2012, though. Further, the national aggregate value of total negative equity slipped to $628 billion, a decline of $42 billion from the $670 billion observed at the end of the third quarter, and in general these improvements were driven by increasing home prices nationwide, the report said. Now, about 38.1 million residential properties nationwide are not underwater, though it should be noted that of that group, 11.3 million have less than 20 percent equity, and 2.3 million have 5 percent or less. That latter group is considered to be at high risk for slipping back underwater if price improvements do not continue in the near future.
"The scourge of negative equity continues to recede across the country," said Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive officer of CoreLogic. "There is certainly more to do, but with fewer borrowers underwater, the fundamentals underpinning the housing market will continue to strengthen. The trend toward more homeowners moving back into positive equity territory should continue in 2013."
Experts believe home prices will continue rising at least through the end of this year, though likely not at the rates seen over the previous 12 months, because many consider those to be unsustainable overall. Nonetheless, these continued (if somewhat diminished) improvements should lead even more homeowners to get out from under their negative equity by the end of 2013.
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Price: $6.95 million
Sq. ft.: 8,116
Even though filthy-rich celebs like Celine Dion and Tiger Woods live in Jupiter, some of their neighbors aren't immune from sinking underwater on their mortgages.
This lavish five-bedroom, seven-bath short sale gets pristine beachfront ocean views, and inside you'll find expansive rooms. A dining area is set off by columns, and walls of windows line the living areas.
Outside, a gorgeous deck and lanai wrap around a large pool and spa. It's an oasis -- though not quite as much as Dion's water park in her backyard.
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