The financial health of Lancaster County homebuyers got slightly better in the fourth quarter, a new report shows.
Some 5.2 percent of residential mortgage borrowers, or 5,335, were “under water” in the fourth quarter, data firm CoreLogic said Tuesday.
That was fewer than the 5.3 percent, or 5,395 borrowers, with that status here in 2013’s fourth quarter, according to CoreLogic.
But viewed over a longer period, the new figure represents a significant improvement.
In 2011’s fourth quarter, for instance, some 8.0 percent of homebuyers here, or 8,090, were under water.
The same trend occurred nationally.
Some 5.4 million, or 10.8 percent of all U.S. residential mortgage borrowers, had negative equity in the fourth quarter. That was down from 6.6 million, or 13.4 percent, reported in 2013’s fourth quarter.
A mortgage borrower is deemed “under water” or “upside down” when he owes more on a home than the home is worth. This condition, formally known as negative equity, can occur because of a decline in home value, an increase in mortgage debt or both.
The number of local mortgage borrowers on the brink of going under water also improved in the fourth quarter from 2013’s fourth quarter, said CoreLogic.
Some 3.0 percent, or 3,100 residential mortgage borrowers, were in near negative equity in the fourth quarter. That compared to 3.1 percent, or 3,173 borrowers, in 2013’s fourth quarter.
Borrowers in this condition, defined as having less than 5 percent equity in their home, are deemed at risk of slipping into negative equity if home prices fall.
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