New Home Loan Balances Overtake Foreclosures: Equifax

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Byline: Amilda Dymi

For the first time in more than three years, the total balance of new mortgage originations is larger than that of loans in foreclosure, according to Equifax.

First-time homebuyer transactions and move-up buyer purchases by homeowners who increased their existing mortgage debt, "have finally overtaken foreclosures and accelerated pay-downs, resulting in increases home finance balances," explained Amy Crews Cutts, Equifax chief economist in a press release.

The Equifax National Consumer Credit Trends Report for January also showed gains in balances of both bank- and retail-issued credit cards. Meanwhile, the total balance of home finance writeoffs in 2013 dropped to $149.7 billion, a six-year low and a more than 30% decrease compared to 2012.

"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," said Crews Cutts.

In January 2014 first mortgage balances increased 2.5% from a year earlier, to $7. …