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Home Prices and Sales Rise in Minneapolis, But Mortgage Debt Unchanged

Home prices and home sales have risen, but the overall mortgage debt has barely changed.

The change is only .07 percent up from what it was in the April to June quarter of 2014, which brought the mortgage debt to $8.12 Trillion. That brings the amount of debt to the same level it was when the housing market bottomed out.

The decline in the second quarter occurred even as more Americans took out mortgages. They either refinanced their old mortgages or purchased new homes. In the second quarter, new home purchases totaled $466 billion, which is the most in an almost two year period.

This trend suggests that Americans are paying down their mortgage debt at the same pace new loans are created. This is evidence that homeowners are now wary of housing debt. In the third quarter of 2008, mortgage debt peaked at $9.29 trillion and then the housing market bottomed out and caused many issues for banks and homeowners.

So far the Fed says that there is little evidence that the market will return to the excesses that it did during the housing bubble, even as the market is on the rebound. Borrowers are being more cautious and so are the lenders. Where borrowers didn’t necessarily have to have money in-hand at the time they took out a mortgage, they have to have some kind of down payment in place.

In May, home prices rose nearly 5 percent more than they did the year before. In some cities, the home prices jumped even more.

This rise in home prices is an indication that housing finance is much healthier than it was pre-recession. In the second quarter, only 95,000 homeowners received foreclosure notices. This is the lowest number in 16 years.

The amount of new mortgages has risen for four consecutive quarters.

However, there are some trends that have offset the increases, keeping the overall amount of mortgage debt unchanged.

The one downfall to the current state of the housing market is that those without sterling credit are finding it increasingly difficult to get mortgages. Before the housing market bottomed out, individuals with lower credit ratings were getting mortgages and they were getting bad deals based on their credit. This led to them not being able to afford their mortgages after a certain point. That made home foreclosure the only option for them. Now the reins have been tightened on credit requirements. A person with bad credit may still be able to get a mortgage with some lenders, but the down payment and income requirements may be much tighter.

Upon looking at the data, it was also found that overall household debt is down compared to the third quarter of 2008.