Rising Home Prices Keep Lifting Underwater Mortgages, Report Says

More homeowners got out from underwater on their mortgages in the first quarter as a recovery in housing lifted prices, a report from CoreLogic showed on Wednesday. There were 9.7 million properties underwater -- whose owners owed more on the mortgage than the homes were worth -- during the quarter, down from 10.5 million in the previous three months, the data analysis firm said. That amounts to 19.8 percent of all properties with a mortgage, down from 21.7 percent.

Underwater, or negative equity, rates spiked in the aftermath of the housing crisis as prices tumbled, but the recovery in the sector over the past year has helped improve some homeowners' standings. In the past year, 1.7 million borrowers have regained positive equity, the report said.

"We are still far below peak home price levels," CoreLogic Chief Executive Officer Anand Nallathambi said in a statement, "but tight supplies in many areas coupled with continued demand for single family homes should help us close the gap." An additional 2.1 million properties were considered to be in near-negative equity in the first quarter, meaning they had less than 5 percent equity.

Nevada had the highest percentage of properties in negative equity at 45.4 percent. Rounding out the top five were Florida, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia. These five states combined accounted for 32.8 percent of negative equity in the United States.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; editing by Lisa Von Ahn.)


See more on underwater mortgages:
Underwater Borrowers Becoming Accidental Landlords
2 Million Underwater Homeowners Rose From Negative Equity in 2012, Report Says
Strategic Default Has a Hidden Cost You Might Not Be Willing to Pay

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