(Bloomberg) — The pandemic housing boom has pulled more than 1 million U.S. homeowners out of a debt trap that many had been stuck in since the great financial crisis more than a decade earlier.

The number of homes that are considered seriously underwater — meaning that loans secured by the property are at least 25% higher than its market value — dropped to 2.25 million in the second quarter, down from 3.5 million at the end of 2019, according to the latest home-equity report by real estate data firm Attom.

Chicago, Philadelphia and New York were among the urban areas that saw the biggest declines in the number of underwater homes.

The number of homes nationwide that are classified as “equity-rich,” meaning their value is at least double the outstanding loan balance, jumped by 4.2 million in the same period. They now account for 34.4% of all mortgaged properties, up from 26.7% at the end of 2019.

“Instead of the virus pandemic…

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