Delinquent first mortgages (30 or more days past due) totaled 5.65 percent of outstanding balances, down more than 22 percent year-over-year in February, according to Equifax's latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report.

The total balance of first mortgages 90 days past due or in foreclosure was less than $270 billion - a six-year low and a decrease of nearly 27 percent.

The total balance of first mortgages hit $7.97 trillion in February, the highest total since December 2011, and 2.8 percent higher than a year ago. It was the biggest year-over-year increase since September 2008.

"The decline in mortgage balances from accelerated amortization and foreclosure write-offs has finally been overcome by increases in mortgage debt due to home purchase lending," said Amy Crews Cutts, Equifax chief economist, in a statement.

Crews Cutts expects that trend to gain momentum heading into spring and summer.

Other highlights from the Equifax data include:

Home Finance:

    •    The total balance of home finance write-offs year-to-date in February is $17.9 billion, 41 percent lower than same time a year ago.
    •    The total balance of home finance write-off dollars in 2013 was $149 billion, a decrease of more than 30 percent from 2012.
    •    For the first time in four years, the total balance of home finance debt ($8.58 trillion), which includes first mortgage and home equity, has increased year-over-year for three consecutive months.

Home Equity Revolving:

    •    The total limit of new credit year-to-date in December 2013 is $90.5 billion, a five-year high and a year-over-year increase of 15.7 percent, the highest in seven years;
    •    The total number of new loans year-to-date in December 2013 is 1.05 million, a five-year high and a year-over-year increase of 20.8 percent, also a seven-year high;
    •    In February 2014, the total balance of home equity revolving loans is $485.3 billion, a decrease of 6.8 percent from same time a year ago and a five-year low. Similarly, the total number of loans outstanding in February is 10.3 million, the lowest total in 10 years.
    •    The total balance of severely delinquent home equity revolving loans in February 2014 is nearly $8.3 billion, a decrease of more than 16 percent from same time a year ago and the lowest since January 2008.

Home Equity Installment

    •    The total balance of home equity installment loans is $134.2 billion, a decrease of 2.4 percent from same time a year ago, while the total number of loans outstanding is just over 3.9 million.
    •    The total balance of home equity installment loans in foreclosure is $424 million.
    •    The total balance of severely delinquent home equity installment loans (90 days past due or in foreclosure) is $3.54 billion.

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