Report: 80 percent of Las Vegas homeowners underwater on mortgage

By Buck Wargo

Las Vegas home values as measured by Zillow fell 4.2 percent in the third quarter and pushed the region’s percentage of underwater properties to 80.2 percent.

The number of homes underwater — when property owners owe more on their mortgage then the home is worth — increased from 78.1 percent in the second quarter, the Seattle-based firm reported. Phoenix ranked second with 68 percent underwater during the third quarter.

“The high percentage of homeowners in negative equity continues to be troubling in that it represents a huge number of people who are not only more vulnerable to foreclosure but who are essentially trapped in their current homes and are prevented from selling and buying a new home,” said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries. “This has profound implications for future demand and will be a millstone around the neck of the housing market.”

In September, 39 percent of homes sold in Las Vegas were…

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