Number of 'underwater' homes in U.S. dips slightly

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Some 11.4 million U.S. residential properties with a mortgage were in negative equity at the end of the first quarter of 2012, housing industry research firm CoreLogic reported Thursday.

The new number is a 5.8 percent decline from the 12.1 million residential property owners who owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth at the end of last year's fourth quarter. The percentage of residential properties with a mortgage with negative equity dropped from 25.3 percent to 23.7 percent during that time period.

CoreLogic reported that 292,219 Washington residential properties were "underwater" in this year's first quarter. That compared to 314,731 residential properties in last year's fourth quarter. The company said rebounding housing prices helped shrink the number of homes with negative equity.