The volume of new mortgage debt is outpacing that of loans in foreclosure for the first time in more than three years, Equifax reports.
First mortgage balances grew to $7.9 trillion in January for a gain of 2.5 percent, while the share of first mortgages in foreclosure or at least 30 days late tumbled 22.8 percent. Equifax chief economist Amy Crews Cutts attributed the shift to first-time buyer sales as well as trade-up purchases by existing homeowners who took on more mortgage debt.
At the same time, home loan writeoffs hit a six-year low of $149.7 billion last year, declining more than 30 percent from 2012 levels. "American consumers have shed more than $1.5 trillion in mortgage debt since the start of the financial crisis and only now seem interested in investing in housing again," Crews Cutts remarked.