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The Housing Crisis Is Officially Over

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The financial crisis was a decade ago, and many Americans have recovered. At the peak of the economic downturn, more than 30 percent of American homeowners owed lenders more than the value of their homes. Now, that number has finally dropped to under 10 percent.

However, millions are still reeling from aftershocks of the housing crisis: Nearly 4.5 million homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, according to a new report from Zillow.

Click to read more about which states are still being hit hard by the foreclosure crisis.

In the late 2000s, the housing bubble burst sent home values into a freefall, with the typical U.S. home losing more than a quarter of its value when the market crashed, sending millions of homeowners into negative equity.

Know: 19 Reasons Your Mortgage Loan Could Get Rejected

The situation is improving, but the outlook can appear bleak for Americans with underwater mortgages. Relief can be found with some options that exist for homeowners to avoid foreclosure:

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Read: Pros and Cons of Getting a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure

The best option to avoid foreclosure is to stay ahead of your bills, if possible. Research government mortgage assistance agencies like Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for free guidance on how to prevent a foreclosure.

Click through to read more about the pros and cons of buying a foreclosed home.