The housing market improved in the Tampa Bay region and nationwide during the first three months of 2014 with regard to home mortgages that remain “seriously underwater” — with a balance that exceed a home’s value by at least 25 percent, RealtyTrac reported.
The real estate firm, in data to be released today, said 32 percent of Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area home mortgages, a total of 259,762, were seriously underwater.
That compares with as many as 43 percent that were seriously underwater six months ago, RealtyTrac reported.
The Tampa Bay area ranked 10th worst nationwide in seriously underwater mortgages, behind Las Vegas; Lakeland; Palm Bay-Melbourne; Cleveland and Akron, Ohio; Detroit; Jacksonville; Orlando; and Fort Myers. Six months ago, the Tampa Bay area ranked third worst, in a tie with Orlando.
Nationwide, 9.1 million residential properties, or 17 percent of all properties with a mortgage, were seriously underwater, the report stated.
The recent peak in negative equity was in the second quarter of 2012, when 12.8 million U.S. residential properties representing 29 percent of all properties were seriously underwater.
“The nine million homeowners seriously underwater could still have a long road back to positive equity,” Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, said in a statement.