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Rise in underwater homeowners seen

March 08, 2009|Peter Y. Hong

One out of five U.S. mortgage holders is now underwater, according to First American CoreLogic's latest review of 45 million mortgages in its database.

The study covers the fourth quarter of 2008, during which the percentage of mortgage holders owing more than their properties are worth climbed to 20%, two percentage points higher than the 18% rate the previous quarter.

In the Los Angeles area, 307,153 -- or about 23% -- of mortgage holders were upside down.

California's 30% rate of negative equity places it in a tie for fifth place with Florida.

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