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Underwater mortgages on the decline nationally, but up slightly here

Fewer home loans in the Harrisburg area and Lancaster County are “seriously underwater” compared with the state and national averages, but there has been a slight uptick locally over the last year, according to data released last week.

Seriously underwater is a term used when the combined loan amount secured by the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value.


ATTOM Data Solutions, the California-based parent company of RealtyTrac, reported that 11.7 percent of mortgages in the Harrisburg area were seriously underwater in the second quarter, up from 11 percent a year ago.


In York-Hanover, that number jumped to 13.1 percent from 12.5 percent last year.


But home loans in Lancaster County dipped to 9.7 percent from 10.3 percent.


By comparison, 12.5 percent of loans in Pennsylvania were seriously underwater compared with 12.3 percent in the second quarter of 2015. The U.S. rate dropped to 11.9 percent from 13.3 percent, according to ATTOM.


Overall, there are now about 6.7 million seriously underwater properties in the U.S., which is down about 6.1 million, or a peak of 12.8 million, in the just four years ago.

“Rising home prices are lifting all home equity boats,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM.

The share of upside-down mortgages has also declined in the midstate over that span.

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