NEW YORK TheStreet) -- The financial crisis gave us a term few had heard before in relation to mortgages: underwater, the unenviable state of owing more on your loan than the home is worth. Well, the term is still with us, and will be for a while, though it gradually applies to fewer and fewer borrowers. "As home values continue to rise, the national negative equity rate continued to fall in the second quarter, dropping to 23.8% of all homeowners with a mortgage," says Zillow.com ( Z), the home-sale and mortgage-information company. But there's bad news too: "Millions of homeowners remain so far underwater that it will take years for them to regain equity, even as home values continue their recovery." Though lots of attention has been paid to rising home prices, it will take much bigger gains to get many of today's underwater borrowers above water. And, unfortunately, many experts think the pace of gains, torrid in many markets over the past year or so, will slow down. trapped in their homes, unable to move for a new job and making payments on a property that's worth less than they'd bargained for when they took out the loan. The hardest-hit markets are Las Vegas, with an effective underwater rate of 66.9%, Atlanta at 61.3%, and Riverside, a Los Angeles suburb, at 56.1% Mortgage Loan Calculator to see how quickly your debt will shrink.