More than one out of every six Portland-area homeowners with a mortgage owes more on their home than it's worth, according to a new survey by CoreLogic.

The Santa Ana, Calif., real estate information company found that 17.4 percent of all residential mortgage holders, or 82,709 homeowners, were 'underwater' in the Portland area during 2011's third quarter. That's a slight improvement from the second quarter of the year, when CoreLogic calculated that 17.6 percent of homeowners with mortgages, owners of 83,450 properties, had larger outstanding loans than their properties were worth.

Nationally, 22.1 percent of residential mortgage holders were underwater in the third quarter, CoreLogic reported.

'Although slightly down, negative equity remains very high and renders many borrowers vulnerable when negative economic shocks occur, such as job loss or illness,' said CoreLogic economist Mark Fleming. 'This overhang is holding back the recovery of the housing market and broader economy.'

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