Home price increases helped return 850,000 more properties to a state of positive equity in the first quarter of 2013, making it easier for more Americans to move or refinance, analytics firm CoreLogic reported.

At the end of the first quarter, 9.7 million properties, or 19.8 percent of all properties with a mortgage, were underwater, according to CoreLogic. That’s down from 10.5 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, the company said.

“The impressive home price gains of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 have had a big impact on the distribution of residential home equity,” said Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “During the past year, 1.7 million borrowers have regained positive equity. We expect the pent-up supply that falling negative equity releases will moderate price gains in many of the fast-appreciating markets this spring.” Source: CoreLogic

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