Via Phoenix Business Journal.

Roughly 22% of metro Phoenix homeowners were upside down on their mortgages during the fourth quarter of 2013.

22% is approaching the U.S. national average of 19% of homeowners being underwater.

22% is also a steep plunge from a year ago when 40% of Phoenix mortgage holders had negative equity, according to Zillow.

The biggest reason for the dramatic improvement was that Phoenix home prices increased 25% in 2013.

Decline Leads to Increase

The decline in the number of homes with negative equity partially explains the large increase in the number of Phoenix area homes hitting the market since last summer.