Strong home price gains this past spring and summer have given drowning homeowners a new supply of air.
While the number of borrowers in a negative-equity position on their mortgages is still high, at just over 14 million, that number is falling fast, especially for those most seriously underwater.
There were 6.9 million U.S. homes seriously underwater at the end of the third quarter of this year, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure sales and analytics company. It defines "seriously underwater" as owing at least 25 percent more on the mortgage than the home is currently worth.
The tally represents 12.7 percent of all properties with a mortgage. The number is down from 7.4 million at the end of the second quarter and is the lowest level since RealtyTrac began looking at underwater data in 2012.