IRVINE ( — In another sign of how the economy has improved since the recession, an analysis released Thursday shows that U.S. homeowners saw their equity increase by a total of $227 billion in the third quarter of 2016, a 3 percent increase over the second quarter.

According to CoreLogic, 384,000 borrowers moved out of negative equity, increasing the percentage of homes with positive equity to nearly 94 percent of all mortgaged properties, or almost 48 million homes. Year over year, home equity grew by $726 billion, representing an increase of nearly 11 percent in this year’s third quarter compared to last year’s third quarter.

The total number of mortgaged residential properties with negative equity – a status popularly known as being under water – stood at more than 3 million in this year’s third quarter, or more than 6 percent of all homes with a mortgage, CoreLogic reported, a drop of nearly 11 percent from more than 3 million homes in the second quarter of 2016.

“Home equity rose by $12,500 for the average homeowner over the last four quarters,” CoreLogic Chief Economist Frank Nothaft said in a statement. “There was wide geographic variation with homeowners in California, Oregon and Washington gaining an average of at least $25,000 in home equity wealth, while owners in Alaska, North Dakota and Connecticut had small declines, on average.”

“Price appreciation is the main ingredient for home equity wealth creation, and home prices rose 5.8 percent in the year ending September 2016 according to the CoreLogic Home Price Index,” CoreLogic President and CEO Anand Nallathambi said in a statement.

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