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Trends in Mortgage Originations and Consumer Debt

Debt and identity theft types protectionAmericans are paying off debt and starting to take out more loans than they have in recent years. The factors around this trend are explained in the recent Equifax Finance blog, “

More Americans Paying Off Debt and Opening New Lines of Credit,” which cites research from the Equifax Credit Trends report.

Here are a few of the numbers:

  • Not including mortgages, loan originations increased from $659 billion in 2011 to $750 billion in 2012. Overall, loan originations are still down from their pre-recession peak in 2006 by more than $400 billion, showing that America is heading toward a recovery, but the hard part is not over yet.
  • By mid-2012, about 4.25 million first-mortgage starts were on the books, compared to about 2.5 million at the same time in 2011.
  • Those taking out home loans are the Americans taking advantage of low interest rates, and are prime risk consumers, meaning that they carry little lending risk and have credit scores of at least 700. 80% of recent mortgage originations fit this category, while that was only true for 50% in 2006.
  • $65.5 billion in home loans were taken out in 2012; but that is only a fraction of the $295.2 billion taken out in 2006.
  • The amount of mortgage debt Americans are carrying has decreased from $9.8 trillion in 2008 to $8.4 trillion today, due to foreclosures and Americans paying down mortgage debt faster than taking it out.
  • Consumer debt (which does not include mortgage debt) has seen the opposite trend: increasing to $2.51 trillion at the end of December 2012 (though still down from the $2.57 trillion high in 2008).

Read the full article on the Equifax Finance blog, where you can also find information about credit,

identity theft types, retirement and more.

What Drives Homeowners Insurance Costs?

Homeowners Insurance CostsThe rise in the home sales market must mean that everything related to housing must be on the rise, too, right – from home values to taxes and insurance costs, right? Not so, with that last part! Homeowners insurance, a key part of homeownership, is not tied to the home sales market, but instead is set by its own criteria. To help you understand why you are probably paying more for the protection of homeowner’s insurance (relative to your other homeownership expenses), the Equifax Finance Blog explains in the new article, “

Does Home Value Affect Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance costs, unlike fair market value or taxable value, are not derived from comparison. If all the values of homes went up in your neighborhood or if a new park was added to the community, the tax value and fair market value would go up, but insurance costs are derived from the cost to rebuild and replace your exact home. In other words, what  it would cost to build your home right now at current construction costs completely new, as opposed to the depreciated value of your home, either from market conditions or the fact that your home has been lived in. And with building supply costs on the rise and new building codes in effect to adhere to, it may cost quite a bit more to make your home from new than to sell it, even with the market on the rise.

To learn more about the best practices for personal finance, from homeowner insurance to

preventing identity theft, check in with Equifax!

Basic Identity Theft Information

Identity theft information from a dropped walletDid you know that simply keeping track of your wallet or purse is actually an identity theft solution? A recent study from Travelers on 2011 ID theft claims has recently revealed that everyday stolen and misplaced wallets and purses are the number one reason identity fraud crimes occur, much more often than online identity theft.

This surprising information comes from a recent article from the Equifax Finance Blog entitled, “Top Causes of Identity Theft? Not the Internet—Yet.” In the article an identity fraud product manager at Travelers, Joe Reynolds, relays this interesting identity theft information to readers.

Reynolds also explains that cyber-breaches, which include scams on the internet, only come in at the fourth spot on the list! This is a surprising revelation, considering home many people use the internet for all of their banking, shopping and bill paying needs nowadays.

It appears that old-fashioned wallet snatchings, burglaries, forgeries and of course, mindlessness misplacements, are still the biggest threats to our

ID protection. So lock up your things and be mindful of threats, and also check out the Equifax Finance Blog for even more identity theft protection information from the finance experts.

Know Your Identity Theft Solution Now

Be ready with an Identity Theft Solution

Prevention is best, but having an identity theft solution at the ready is wise if you are at risk

Unfortunately with the progression of technology and a few desperate decisions by some, many people have run into several kinds of identity theft in recent years. Often those who are victimized do not even realize it until much later, such as when they are trying to get approved for a home loan or buy a new car and suddenly get declined due to a credit history that should have been fine.


The Equifax Finance Blog recently provided some excellent identity theft information in their article, “What to Do if You’re the Victim of Identity Theft.” To begin with, the article cites some of the typical signs of identity theft to watch out for.

These include:

  • Having collectors contact you about debts you know are not yours.
  • Bills and other important mail stop coming to your address (meaning your billing address may have been changed by a theft).
  • Credit cards arrive in the mail for accounts you have never applied for.
  • Debts and accounts you did not open begin to show up on your credit report (it’s a good idea to monitor your credit reports so you can catch this right away should it happen).


Just keep in mind that prevention is always the best

identity theft solution, so even if your identity has been stolen in the past. However, if you should find out that your identity has been compromised, it may take a bit of effort on your part to set things right again. The Equifax Finance Blog can walk you through the steps to begin fixing the damage.

To learn more about these steps, please visit the Equifax Finance Blog today at