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Nearly half of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on mortgages

Three years of depreciation have left close to half of Tampa Bay homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth.

In a September report put out by First American CoreLogic, a real estate information company, 46 percent of residential properties in the Tampa Bay area struggled with negative equity. That's 314,183 out of 684,822 homes.

In Florida, about 2 million of 4.6 million home mortgages were underwater, for a rate of 45 percent.

The number of upside-down homeowners has been rising in Tampa Bay and Florida. Eleven percent more Tampa Bay properties were underwater in September than in June, when First American's last report came out.

"The recent improvement in home prices this past spring and summer has slowed the increase in negative equity," said First American economist Mark Fleming. "But it will take a significant rebound in home prices, which we are not expecting, to offset the dampening effects."

Nevada had the highest rate of upside-down mortgages, affecting nearly two-thirds of home­owners. Arizona was next with 48 percent. Florida was third.

The bulk of distressed homeowners financed their properties in 2006 or 2007, close to the housing price peak in Tampa Bay. Altogether, bay area home­owners owe $104.6 billion on $116.3 billion worth of property, First American said.

First American admits it exaggerated negative equity earlier this year by assuming homeowners made fuller use of home equity loans than they actually did. But even after correcting those figures, negative equity is still rising.

James Thorner can be reached at jthorner@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3313.

FLORIDA

45 percent

2M of 4.6M homes

TAMPA BAY

46 percent

314,183 of 684,822 homes

Nearly half of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on mortgages 11/24/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 4:32pm]

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