Here’s the good news for some homeowners who owe more on their homes than those properties are worth: Low housing inventory drives sales prices upward that, coupled with more buyers seeking to get out of apartments or simply own a home, improves the chance for a homeowner to escape the status of “underwater” owner and eventually avoid selling at a loss.

And here’s the downside on that hopeful prospect for some underwater owners: It seems to depend entirely on where an owner lives. As is frequently trumpeted in the real estate industry, location is everything.

So it would seem to be in Mississippi, as it is throughout the rest of the country. Indeed, price variances among homes are more than just seen among states; a locale within a given state can feature few underwater homes and foreclosures, with an adjacent area having a significant number of homes with negative equity that are involved in the foreclosure process.

RealtyTrac, a compiler and supplier of data relating to the national real estate market, just issued a 2014 first-quarter report on the state of the industry that notably points to its schizophrenic nature.

On the one hand, RealtyTrac notes that the number of “seriously underwater” homes across the country – those where a borrower owes at least 25 percent more on a home mortgage than the assessed value of the property – is trending downward from previous quarters. On the other hand, the company states that, despite that encouraging development, more than nine million U.S. homes are still underwater. In some states (e.g., Nevada and Florida), more than 30 percent of all homes in which the loan value exceeds the estimated market value are deemed to be seriously underwater.

As to what all of this means, it certainly points to a marked unevenness in the nation’s ongoing housing rebound from a precipitous decline in recent years.

It is certainly important for many owners of highly distressed properties to know that filing for bankruptcy is a potential – and often highly sound – solution to what might seem to be an intractable problem. Bankruptcy puts an automatic stay on all foreclosure proceedings and, indeed, allows many homeowners to keep their homes.

An experienced debt relief attorney can provide more information.

Source: National Mortgage Professional Magazine, “Nine million-plus U.S. properties seriously underwater in Q1,” author unnamed, April 18, 2014

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