Rising home prices helped many home owners welcome the return of equity in their homes last year. In 2013, 4 million homes returned to positive equity, bringing the total to 42.7 million, CoreLogic reports in its fourth quarter 2013 equity report .Of the 42.7 million residential properties that now have positive equity, 10 million – or 21.1 percent – have less than 20 percent equity, CoreLogic reports. More than 1.6 million residential properties have less than 5 percent equity.About 6.5 million residential properties with a mortgage – or 13.3 percent – remained in negative equity territory by the end of 2013.“The plight of the underwater borrower has improved dramatically since negative equity peaked in December 2009 when more than 12 million mortgaged home owners were underwater,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Over the past four years, more than 5.5 million home owners have regained equity, reducing their risk of foreclosure and unlocking pent-up supply in the housing market.”The bulk of home equity for properties with a mortgage is concentrated at the higher-end of the housing market, with 92 percent of homes valued at more than $200,000 having equity compared to 81 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000, CoreLogic reports.Five states alone account for nearly 37 percent of the negative equity in the U.S. CoreLogic reports that the following five states have the highest percentage of mortgaged properties in negative equity:
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