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Zillow: Fewer homeowners underwater

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The percentage of U.S. homeowners with mortgage debt that exceeds the value of their home declined slightly from the second to third quarters, in part because home prices are stabilizing but also because many homeowners who had been underwater lost their homes to foreclosure, reported today.An analysis of public records collected for the Zillow Real Estate Market Reports suggests that 21 percent of homes with mortgages were underwater at the end of September, down from 23 percent at the end of June, Zillow said.An index measuring home values in 156 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) tracked by Zillow was relatively flat, declining 0.4 percent from the second quarter to the third. Looking back a year, the index showed the median value of single-family homes, condominiums and cooperatives in those markets falling 6.9 percent, to $190,400.But the rate of year-over-year price declines shrank for the third quarter in a row. Only nine MSAs -- including the Merced, Calif., State...