LAS VEGAS -- Nevada exited the final quarter of last year with 52.4 percent of its residential mortgages still underwater, by far worst in the nation, according to a report released Tuesday by CoreLogic.
The real estate analytics company from Irvine,Calif., reported that Nevada was followed by Florida (40.2 percent underwater), Arizona (34.9 percent), Georgia (33.8 percent) and Michigan (31.9 percent). CoreLogic said those five states combined for 32.7 percent of the nation's negative equity.
The company said that 1.7 million properties moved from negative to positive equity across the U.S. last year. A home with negative equity means the property has a higher mortgage loan outstanding than the residence is worth, a condition also known as being underwater.
"In the fourth quarter we again saw an improvement in the equity position of households," CoreLogic chief economist Mark Fleming said. "Housing market improvements, particularly in the hardest hit states, are the catalyst for households to regain equity and become participants in 2013's housing market."
Nevada had roughly 548,000 home mortgages in the fourth quarter of 2012, which means that an estimated 287,152 remained underwater. Nevada, with an average mortgage loan that was 103.7 percent of the home's value, was the only state in the nation that quarter where the average loan exceeded the average value.
With information from 48 states and Washington, D.C. (data for South Dakota and Vermont wasn't available), the national average mortgage was one where the loan represented 69 percent of the home's value, CoreLogic reported.
The good news for Nevada is that the 52.4 percent underwater figure for the final quarter of 2012 is an improvement from the same quarter in 2011, when it was 61.1 percent, 2010, when it was 65.4 percent, and 2009, when it was 69.9 percent.
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