Zillow: Fewer homeowners underwater

Some lost homes, others benefiting from price stabilization

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, Zillow.com 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.