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Underwater mortgage rates slowly rising

RealtyTrac’s quarterly survey finds that more than 13 percent of all mortgages are underwater

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The number of seriously underwater homeowners inched up slightly during the first quarter due to slow home price appreciation, according to housing data provider RealtyTrac. At the end of the first quarter, just under 7.4 million residential properties were underwater — meaning the combined loan amount secured by the property is at least 25 percent higher than the property’s estimated market value — for an increase of 0.4 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2014, RealtyTrac said in its most recent U.S. Home Equity & Underwater Report. That slight bump is the first quarterly increase seen since the second quarter of 2012, but still down more than 4 percentage points from a year ago. Currently, the number of underwater mortgages represents 13.2 percent of all properties with a mortgage, RealtyTrac said. “At the end of 2014 we saw the lowest share of seriously underwater properties since we began tracking such data, but in the first quarter that share bumped...