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27% of Homeowners Now Suffer Negative Home Equity: Cheerleaders Spin

• CNBC.com
 
The number of borrowers who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth took a huge leap in the fourth quarter of 2010. A full 27 percent of borrowers are now “underwater” on their mortgages, up from 23 percent in the previous quarter, according to a new report from Zillow. Foreclosure moratoriums and falling home prices are to blame. Adding to a slew of negative reports on home prices, Zillow found home values posted their largest quarter-over-quarter decline, 2.6 percent, since the beginning of 2009. The home buyer tax credit, which inflated home prices artificially in the first half of the year, resulted in a Fall hangover. Home prices plunged 5.9 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. “Home value trends in the fourth quarter remained grim, but the good news is that these declines, while painful in the short-term, mean we’re getting closer to the bottom,” notes Zillow’s chief economist, Dr. Stan Humphries.

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