(NEW YORK) — For the first time since the deep slump began more than five years ago, a new report from the business information and analytics firm Core Logic says fewer Americans have negative equity in their homes.
In the first three months of the year, 11.4 million homeowners, or 23.7 percent of all residential properties with a mortgage, had negative equity. That compares with 12.1 million properties — 25.2 percent — in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Mark Fleming, chief economist at Core Logic, says, “More than 700,000 households have regained buoyancy.” They’re no longer underwater, and “one of the main reasons why we’ve seen the improvement in negative equity is that house prices have risen.”
Core Logic finds prices have increased most in some deeply distressed housing markets in the West and South, including parts of Florida, Arizona and Nevada.
“In the first quarter of 2012, rebounding home prices, a healthier balance of real estate supply and demand, and a slowing share of distressed sales activity helped to reduce the negative equity share,” says Fleming.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Matt Egan, CNN
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Cristina Alesci Seth Fiegerman and Charles Riley, CNN