Updated March 30 at 4:30pm

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Negative equity increases in 2012 4Q in Providence metro area

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PROVIDENCE – The number of Providence-area homeowners who owe more on their mortgages than their houses are worth increased in the fourth quarter of 2012, Corelogic said Tuesday.

While homeowners gained ground nationally, the share of Providence-New Bedford-Fall River metro area homes with negative equity rose 1 percentage point in the last three months of 2012 to 22 percent from the third quarter of last year.

The Irvine, Calif.-based real estate data firm reported 76,655 Providence-area homes worth less than their outstanding mortgage balance in the fourth quarter of last year compared with 73,375 in the third quarter.

The increase in underwater homes locally not only bucked the national trend, but gave back some of the progress local homeowners had been making in the past year.

On a year-over-year basis, the 22 percent of homes underwater in the fourth quarter decreased from 23.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Nationally, 21.5 percent of homes were underwater in the fourth quarter of last year, down from 22 percent in the third quarter.

Rhode Island had the 11th-highest percentage of negative equity of any state in the fourth quarter.

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