Consumers trimmed nearly $350 billion in mortgage debt, by foreclosure, payoffs or some other forfeiture in lieu of eviction, over the last 12 months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Mortgage balances on consumer credit reports reached a peak in the middle of 2008 at roughly $9 trillion and dropped to $8.2 trillion as of March 31.
In the first quarter, consumers shed $81 billion in mortgage debt after a $134 billion reduction in the previous three months and a $114 billion decrease in the third quarter of last year.
New mortgage originations appearing on credit reports are inching back up and foreclosures remain subdued, according to the New York Fed report.
New originations rose to $412 billion in the first quarter from $404 billion in 4Q 2011. In the first quarter of 2011, originations reached $499 billion, marking three-straight quarters of growth. But that dropped to $352 billion in the next period and to $292 billion at end of 3Q of 2011.
Credit reporting agencies added 291,000 foreclosures on borrower reports in the first quarter, the same level from the previous three months but nearly 21% lower than the same quarter last year, according to the New York Fed.
As foreclosures slowed, the rate of curing a delinquent loan to current status overcame the 90-day delinquency transition rate for the first time since early in 2011. Before then, cure rates remained below severely delinquent transitions since the middle of 2007. (Click on the chart to expand.)
Overall consumer debt declined to $11.44 trillion in the first quarter, down roughly 1% from the previous quarter.
Student loan debt, on the other hand, reached $904 billion on consumer credit reports, a $30 billion increase from the end of last year.
"Student loan debt continues to grow even as consumers reduce mortgage debt and credit card balances," said Donghoon Lee, senior economist at the New York Fed. "It remains the only form of consumer debt to substantially increase since the peak of household debt in late 2008."