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Report: 6.4 Million U.S. Homes Still Have Negative Equity

Realty sign in front of home in The Lakes neighborhood in Las Vegas. Nevada, which was hard-hit by the housing bust five years ago, remains the state with the highest number of homes with negative equity.

A realty sign in front of a home in The Lakes neighborhood in Las Vegas. Nevada, which was hit hard by the housing bust five years ago, remains the state with the highest number of homes with negative equity.

Although most of the housing indicators have been looking up recently, there are still about 6.4 million homes with "underwater" mortgages, in which the homeowner owes the bank more than the house is worth.

According to the CoreLogic Equity Report, "nearly 6.4 million homes, or 13 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity at the end of the third quarter."

However, as CoreLogic points out, that's still down from the 7.2 million homes, or 14.7 percent, that were underwater in the second quarter of this year.

"Rising home prices continued to help homeowners regain their lost equity in the third quarter of 2013," said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic's chief economist. "Negative equity will decline even further in the coming quarters as the housing market continues to improve."

The highest percent of residential properties with negative equity tend to be concentrated in a handful of states and urban areas. As Forbes points out:

"[Certain] states are bearing a greater brunt of the problem. Just five states accounted for more than one-third of the underwater homes nationally. Nevada led with the highest percentage of underwater mortgages (32.2 percent), followed by Florida (28.8 percent), Arizona (22.5 percent), Ohio (18.0 percent) and Georgia (17.8 percent). The two major metropolitan areas with the worst mortgage stats are in both Florida: Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Fla. had 32.3 percent of its residential properties underwater, and in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., 30.1 percent were upside down. The third worst was the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. area, where 23.2 percent were underwater; Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., had 20.8 percent; and the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, Ill. metro, 20.5 percent."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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