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Negative equity holding back sellers

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Inventory of unsold homes on the market declined in April as the share of underwater homeowners rose, according to a monthly report from data aggregator CoreLogic. The number of unsold homes on the market was at its lowest level in more than five years in April -- a 6.5-month supply. While that supply level is considered "reasonably healthy," it also means that there are "significantly fewer buyers" on the demand side of the market, according to Anand Nallathambi, CoreLogic's president and CEO. "Historically, current homeowners trading up represent the biggest segment of the purchase market," he wrote in the report. "But with more than 20 percent of homeowners underwater, another 25 percent of all homeowners possessing less than 20 percent equity in their homes, and tightened underwriting requirements, this potential pool of buyers has effectively been eliminated." Among the 50 largest metro areas in the country, those with the highest percentag...