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Fewer U.S. Homes Were `Under Water' in Third Quarter as Foreclosures Rose

Bloomberg News
Falling property values and unemployment near 10 percent have spurred a surge in foreclosures. Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg

Falling property values and unemployment near 10 percent have spurred a surge in foreclosures. Photographer: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg


The number of U.S. homes worth less than the debt owed on them dropped in the third quarter, largely because of mounting foreclosures rather than a rise in property values, according to CoreLogic Inc.



About 10.8 million homes, or 22.5 percent of those with mortgages, were “underwater” as of Sept. 30, the Santa Ana, California-based real estate information company said in a report today. That was down from 11 million, or 23 percent, at the end of June, the third straight quarterly decline.

Falling property values and unemployment near 10 percent have spurred a surge in foreclosures. The number of homes offered in foreclosure auctions averaged 110,000 a month in the third quarter compared with about 98,000 in the same period a year earlier, said Mark Fleming, CoreLogic’s chief economist.

“There are two ways to reduce negative equity,” Fleming said in a telephone interview today. “Price appreciation or disposition, which means people getting taken out of their homes. At the moment, there’s more disposition.”


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