A new report by CoreLogic shows 11.1 million, or 23.1 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 10.8 million, or 22.5 percent, in the third quarter.Â The small increase reflects the price declines that occurred during the fourth quarter and led to lower values. An additional 2.4 million borrowers had less than five percent equity in the fourth quarter.
Negative equity, often referred to as "underwater" or "upside down," means that borrowers owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth. Negative equity can occur because of a decline in value, an increase in mortgage debt, or a combination of both.
Nevada had the highest negative equity percentage with 65 percent of all of its mortgaged properties underwater, followed by Arizona, 51 percent; Florida, 47 percent; Michigan, 36 percent; and California, 32 percent.
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