This article originally appeared on Money.com.
It has been updated to include additional data.
Time to get out of debt, says this one-word headline.
That’s a common refrain from homeowners seeking to reduce their mortgage payments.
And it’s the mantra that’s making some experts nervous.
Some are worried that these numbers, and the associated credit score changes, could put a lot of homeowners out of business.
“What we are seeing is a surge in the number of people that are selling their homes and buying homes with credit scores that are low,” says Joe Ziemba, a senior credit adviser at Moody’s Analytics.
And the numbers could lead to a surge of defaults, which could ultimately hurt home prices.
But Ziembals worries are not unfounded.
The mortgage industry is grappling with the fallout from this data, he says.
In a blog post, Ziembs points to the example of one of the biggest names in the mortgage industry, Wells Fargo, which last month filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Wells Fargo and its mortgage unit, Mortgage Bank of America, owe tens of millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.
Wells, as a result, is seeking a credit report from the U.S. Department of Justice to try to avoid paying millions of taxpayers.
That could help explain why, after Wells Fargo filed for bankruptcy, the company’s mortgage sales surged, from just under a million homes to more than 40 million.
The company says that it is working to get the report to the Justice Department, but that it could take years.
“The problem with this situation is the data is just so vast,” Ziembe says.
That means that a consumer could be on the hook for a huge debt after paying off a loan.
And there is a risk that the data could get more valuable in the future.
For instance, the mortgage bureau in Illinois that collects the credit scores of millions for every homeowner is now required to update its data annually.
If the data becomes more valuable, it could be easier for banks and lenders to raise rates.
“It’s going to have a negative effect on mortgage rates,” says John Miller, a managing director at the mortgage bank mortgage analytics company, Aite.
“That’s going out the window in the short term.”
The trend to downsize has been fueled by a glut of homes for sale.
As of the end of August, there were nearly 30 million homes available in the U