There were more than a million homeowners whose properties exited negative equity status over the past year, with the potential for another million to do so if home prices continue to rise, according to CoreLogic.
CoreLogic reported Thursday that the number of underwater properties at the end of the first quarter totaled 4 million, which equates to 8% of all homes with a mortgage. That figure was down 6.2% from the fourth quarter and 21.5% from a year ago.
Still, 9.1 million properties, or 18% of all homes with a mortgage, had less than 20% equity, and 1.1 million had less than 5% equity.
"More than 1 million homeowners have escaped the negative equity trap over the past year. We expect this positive trend to continue over the balance of 2016 and into next year as home prices continue to rise," CoreLogic President and Chief Executive Anand Nallathambi said in a news release.
"If home values rise another 5% uniformly across the U.S., the number of underwater borrowers will fall by another one million during the next year," Nallathambi added, citing the 5.5% year-over-year increase in home prices CoreLogic previously reported.
The aggregate value of negative equity during the quarter was $299.5 billion, an 11.8% decrease from the first quarter of 2015. Nationally, home equity rose year over year by $762 billion.