Michael Payne stands in front of his home in the Penn Estates development where most of the homeowners are underwater on their mortgages in East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania, U.S., June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
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Located about 129 kilometers northwest of New York City in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, their home resides in one of the sickest real estate markets in the United States, according to a Reuters analysis of data provided by a leading realty tracking firm.The Paynes – and about 5.1 million other U.S. homeowners – are still living with the fallout from the real estate bust that triggered the epic downturn.It is an improvement from 2012, when average prices hit bottom and properties with severe negative equity topped out at 29 percent, or 12.8 million homes.Many of these families obtained financing through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.These and other casualties of the real estate meltdown are easy to overlook as homes in much of the country are again fetching record prices.Even at those prices, empty houses languish on the market.Nearly 40 percent of the 9,800 homes with mortgages in this county about 80 miles northwest of Chicago are underwater, according to the ATTOM data.At Candlewick Lake, so many people walked away from their homes that as many as a third of its houses were vacant, said Karl Johnson, chairman of the Boone County board of supervisors.
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