NEW YORK – June 6, 2014 – As the country's housing market continues to recover, more mortgage borrowers have moved into a positive equity position.

The average financed U.S. residence had a loan-to-value ratio of 60.8 percent in the first quarter of this year.

The nation's collective equity position improved from the final quarter of last year, when the average LTV was 61.9 percent. The details were spelled out in the CoreLogic Equity Report First Quarter 2014.

In the same three-month period last year, LTVs averaged 67.5 percent. LTV's peaked at 71.3 percent in the fourth-quarter 2011.

Hawaii's 46.1 percent average LTV ratio was the lowest in the nation. New York's 47.3 percent was No. 2. After that was California's 54.0 percent, Massachusetts' 55.9 percent and Maine's 56.5 percent.

The average LTV ratio was 78.5 percent in Nevada – the highest in the nation.

During the first quarter of this year, 312,000 properties moved from a negative to a positive equity position. That left 6.3 million borrowers – 12.7 percent of all owners with a mortgage – with LTV ratios in excess of 100 percent.

In Nevada, 29.4 percent of borrowers were underwater – more than any other state. Florida followed, then Mississippi, Arizona and Illinois. Texas had the highest share of borrowers with positive equity: 96.7 percent.

The amount of U.S. negative equity dropped to $384 billion from $401 billion in the fourth quarter.

The findings were based on $8.637 trillion in total mortgage debt outstanding as of March 31, up from $8.606 trillion at the end of 2013. Net homeowner equity climbed to $5.567 trillion from $5.297 trillion three months earlier and $4.170 trillion a year earlier.

"Home equity is concentrated at the higher end of the market," the report said. "For example, 93 percent of homes valued at greater than $200,000 have equity compared with 82 percent of homes valued at less than $200,000."

© 2014 Mortgage Daily

eprinted with permission. Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved