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Negative Equity Diminishing

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U.S. homeowners with financed residential properties improved their collective equity position thanks to a recovering real estate market.

The average U.S. loan-to-value ratio was 67.2 percent in the first quarter. Home equity improved from the fourth-quarter 2012, when the revised average LTV was 69.0 percent.

In Nevada, the average LTV ratio was 96.0 percent, the highest of any state in the first quarter.

The numbers were reported by CoreLogic.

At 81.5 percent, Florida had the second-worst LTV ratio. Michigan’s 80.7 percent was close behind, then 80.5 percent in Louisiana and 80.4 percent in Georgia.

The LTV ratio was more than 100 percent on 19.8 percent of the 48,692,000 financed U.S. properties as of March, an improvement from 21.5 percent the prior month.

On a dollar basis, the value of negative equity for all U.S. homes was $580 billion as of March 31, down from $631 billion at the end of last year.

CoreLogic President and Chief Executive Officer Anand Nallathambi explained in the report that rising home prices are driving the decline in negative equity.

Dr. Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, noted that 1.7 million upside-down borrowers have moved into a positive equity position.

“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,” Fleming said.

The negative-equity share was higher in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla., than in any other metropolitan area: 44.1 percent.

The Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, Fla., area was next with 40.7 percent of borrowers being underwater.

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