``During the first three months of this year, 18.8 percent of homeowners with a mortgage, 9.7 million, owed more on their loans than their properties would sell for, according to online real estate database Zillow. Though that was an improvement from the 25.4 percent figure of a year ago, the share of such "underwater" homeowners is about four times the historic average... an additional 18.1 percent of mortgage holders were "effectively" underwater: They had equity, but the proceeds from selling their home would be too low to recoup the sales costs and also put a down payment on a new property.''

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