A home in California under foreclosure. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Some 17,000 home in the San Diego metropolitan area regained equity in 2015, bringing the percentage of homeowners “underwater” down to 6.0 percent, according to a report released Thursday.

Irvine-based CoreLogic said 34,671 local homes were underwater in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to 51,821 in the same quarter of 2014, when 8.9 percent of all San Diego-area homes had negative equity.

Nationwide, some 1 million borrowers regained equity in 2015, though 8.5 percent of all homes remain underwater in the aftermath of the Great Recession. Nevada and Florida still had negative equity rates near 20 percent.

“In Q4 of last year home equity increased by $680 billion or 11.5 percent, the 13th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic. “The improvement in equity reflects positive home prices and continued deleveraging of mortgage balances by households.”

“The number of homeowners with more than 20 percent equity is rising rapidly,” added Anand Nallathambi, president and CEO of CoreLogic. “Higher prices driven largely by tight supply are certainly a big reason for the rise, but continued population growth, household formation and ultralow interest rates are also factors.

“Looking ahead in 2016, we expect home equity levels to continue to build, which is a good thing for the long-term health of the U.S. economy,” she said.

CoreLogic is a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled services provider.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.