The number of South Florida homeowners who have mortgages larger than their home’s value is shrinking, thanks in part to rising home prices across the board.
Data from a year-end RealtyTrac report shows that about 19.6 percent of all South Florida homes with a mortgage were underwater. That equates to 296,838 properties spread throughout Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties — a 2.3 percentage point decrease from the third quarter of 2015.
South Florida homeowners were stuck with upside-down loans when the real estate market crashed in the late 2000s. Their home values tanked, leaving them with loan balances higher than their properties were worth.
Then in 2013 and 2014, home prices shot upward as the housing market picked up speed. Now, South Florida ranks 14th in the nation for underwater homes.
The country’s worst hot spot was Las Vegas, where 159,832 homes — or about 27.7 percent of all the region’s residential properties — are seriously underwater.
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