Total Household Debt Rises for 17th Straight Quarter

On Friday, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today issued its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, which shows that total household debt increased by $219 billion (1.6%) to $13.51 trillion in the third quarter of 2018. It was the 17th consecutive quarter with an increase and the total is now $837 billion higher than the previous peak of $12.68 trillion in the third quarter of 2008.

The Report is based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample of individual- and household-level debt and credit records drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.  Overarching trends from the Report’s summary include:

Housing Debt

  • Mortgage originations increased to $445 billion from $437 billion in the second quarter.
  • Mortgage delinquencies were roughly flat, with 1.1% of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent in the third quarter.

Non-Housing Debt

  • Outstanding student loan debt increased by $37 billion and stood at $1.44 trillion as of September 30.
  • Auto loan balances increased by $27 billion to $1.27 trillion in 2018Q3.
  • Credit card balances rose by $15 billion to $844 billion.

Delinquencies, Collection Accounts, and Credit Inquiries

  • Mortgage delinquency transition rates increased slightly with about 1.2% of current balances transitioning into delinquency.
  • The number of credit inquiries within the past six months—an indicator of consumer credit demand—increased slightly, but remains among the lowest seen in the history of the data.