RIVERSIDE (CBS) —A steep decline in home values across California and the U.S. are leaving more Americans underwater in their mortgages in 2011.

A new report from Zillow.com shows home values dropped 2.6 percent around the nation, their largest quarterly decline since the first quarter of 2009.

The expiration of tax credits for home buyers has also fueled a rise in the number of mortgage holders in negative equity, with a staggering 50 percent of all Riverside homeowners facing a steep drop in the value of their property.

Amy Bohutinsky, Vice President of Zillow.com tells KNX 1070’s Dick Helton that home values in Los Angeles tumbled 3 percent just in the period between the last two quarters of 2010.

Lower home values combined with the temporary slowdown in foreclosures due to widespread “robo-signing” and other administrative errors are credited with the jump in negative equity rates.

After a slight dip in the number of foreclosed homes in December, analysts say foreclosures are expected to rise again this year.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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