Number of Underwater Homeowners Declines

New York, NY, Sept. 13, 2011 -- The number of underwater U.S. homeowners declined in the second quarter as more residences were lost to foreclosure, according to CoreLogic Inc.

About 10.88 million homes, or 22.5 percent of those with a mortgage, were “underwater” as of June 30, CoreLogic said. That’s down from 10.91 million, or 22.7 percent, in the prior three months.

Another 2.42 million borrowers had less than 5 percent equity at the end of the second quarter, bringing the total properties with negative or near-negative equity to 27.5 percent of mortgaged homes.

“The hardest-hit markets have improved over the last year, primarily as a result of foreclosures,” Mark Fleming, chief economist of CoreLogic, said in a press release. “Nationally, the level of mortgage debt remains high relative to home prices.”

Lack of equity is holding back refinancing and home sales, stalling a recovery in the housing market, Fleming said.