7.6 percent of Wichita area mortgages underwater, says company

First American CoreLogic, a national real estate data company, said 7.6 percent of mortgages in the Wichita area were underwater in the fourth quarter.

That's an increase from nearly 7 percent in the third quarter, according to the company.

Another 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter were close to having negative equity.

Underwater means more is owed on the mortgage than the property is worth. It typically happens when little equity is invested in the home at purchase and then home values fall.

Wichita's rate is just a third of the national average of 24 percent, according to the firm.

Kansas had a rate of 10.9 percent.

Some states have extraordinarily high rates: In Nevada 70 percent of all mortgages are underwater, according to the company.

The rate was 51 percent in Arizona, 48 percent in Florida, 39 percent in Michigan and 35 percent in California.