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1 in 5 Homeowners Under Water and Sinking Fast

Over 20% of homeowners (more than 1 in 5) owe more than their homes are worth, according to a new study by Zillow.com. In all, about 20 million homeowners have mortgages worth more than their houses.

Median home prices have fallen 18% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same period a year earlier, with no bottom in sight.

Mortgages made at the peak of the bubble are in the most trouble. Nearly 60% of mortgages written in 2006 are underwater. Even with lower prices and tighter lending standards, about a third of 2008 mortgages are higher than the values of the homes.

Certain areas are worse off than the average. In Las Vegas, 67.2% of homeowners would have to pay someone to take their houses off their hands. In Stockton and Modesto California, more than half of all homeowners owe more than they could sell their houses for.


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