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More and more people are struggling to pay off mortgages that cost more than what their homes are now worth. A new report shows one in five mortgage holders are, as they say, underwater. The problem is most acute in Nevada, where 55 percent of homeowners are in this situation. NPR's Jeff Brady reports.

JEFF BRADY: Every quarter a company called First American CoreLogic pores over data for the vast majority of mortgages in the country; then it compares how much people owe to how much their house is worth. As property values continue to decline, that's become a depressing task. First American says 8.3 million mortgage holders are in what is coldly known as a negative equity position. One of them is Tucker Roberts(ph) from Crested Butte, Colorado. The 31-year-old salesman says he owes at least $150,000 more than his town house is now worth. Roberts says he doesn't earn enough to pay his mortgage. But with his savings and if he liquidates other assets, he can keep making his $3,400 a month payments for a bit longer.

Mr. TUCKER ROBERT (Salesman): By spring of next year, if I can't get my house sold or if I can't start making a lot more money, there will be a three bedroom, two and half bath house for sale really cheap through a bank.

BRADY: Roberts may be among those who will find relief under a Treasury Department plan announced Wednesday. It offers incentives to lenders that modify mortgages to make them more affordable.

Jeff Brady, NPR News.

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