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06/12/2013

Rising home prices means fewer Tarrant area homeowners underwater on mortgages

The number of Fort Worth-Arlington area homeowners underwater on their mortgages is falling thanks to higher home prices.

CoreLogic, the California-based residential property information provider, said 7.2 percent, or 27,148, of all residential properties in Tarrant, Wise, Johnson and Parker counties, with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of March. That compares to 9 percent, or 34,031 properties, in negative equity at the end of the first quarter of 2012, CoreLogic said.

But, another 4.4 percent, or 16,856 homes, were in near negative equity, down from 5.8 percent, or 22,073 homes, in the fourth quarter of 2012.

CoreLogic said Wednesday that about 850,000 residential properties returned to positive equity in the first quarter nationwide.

“The negative equity burden continues to recede across the country thanks largely to rising home prices,” said Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic’s president and CEO. "We are still far below peak home price levels, but tight supplies in many areas coupled with continued demand for single family homes should help us close the gap."

Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist,  said that during the past year, 1.7 million borrowers have regained positive equity.

Nationwide,  9.7 million, or 19.8 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, were still in negative equity at the end of the first quarter of 2013. This figure is down from 10.5 million, or 21.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, at the end of the fourth quarter.

 Negative equity, or being underwater, occurs when the borrower owes more on their mortgage than the home is worth.

_ Sandra Baker

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