Properties with negative equity tick up in Q4.

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Irvine, California-based CoreLogic reported that the number of homes with a mortgage that had negative equity at the end of last year's fourth quarter totaled 4.3 million. That was an increase of 2.9 percent from the third quarter of 2015, but a decline of 19.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014.

Nevada led all states with the highest percentage of mortgaged homes with negative equity at 18.7 percent. Florida came in next at 17.1 percent, followed by Illinois at 14.6 percent.

CoreLogic noted that roughly 120,000 properties lost equity in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared with the third quarter.

Even with the slight backsliding in the fourth quarter of last year,

CoreLogic said that 1 million borrowers regained equity in 2015. At the end of last year, roughly 46.3 million residential properties with a mortgage had equity. That was 91.5 percent of all mortgaged residential properties.

Of the more than 50 million residential properties with a mortgage, roughly 2.3 percent have less than 5 percent equity.

Commenting on the findings, Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic, said, "In Q4 of last year, home equity increased by $680 billion or 11.5 percent--the 13th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth."

Anand Nallathambi, president and chief executive officer of CoreLogic, said, "The number of homeowners with more than 20 percent equity is rising rapidly." He added, "Higher prices driven largely by tight supply are certainly a big reason for the rise, but continued population growth, household formation and ultralow interest...

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