Thursday, May 26, 2016

Mortgages Drove Household Debt in the First Quarter

Household debt reached $12.25 trillion in the first quarter of 2016, according to the New York Fed’s Household Debt and Credit Report, up $136 billion form last quarter. The growth was driven primarily by an increase in mortgage balances which grew $120 billion, in contrast to an $11 billion decline during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Non-housing debt balances also increased as both student and auto loan debt rose during the quarter. Student loans increased $29 billion to $1.26 trillion, while auto loans increased $7 billion to $1.07 trillion.

Credit card balances declined $21 billion after increasing $19 billion in the previous quarter, as the number of credit inquiries – an indicator of consumer credit demand – fell by 8 million. The aggregate credit card limit increased for the thirteenth consecutive quarter, rising 2.0%.

Delinquencies improved as 5.0% of outstanding debt was delinquent, down from 5.4% during the fourth quarter. Mortgage delinquencies continued their improving trend, as 2.1% of mortgage balances were 90 days delinquent, compared to 2.2% in the previous quarter. Approximately 97,000 consumers had a foreclosure notation added to their credit reports, just above the lowest level seen since the data was first collected in 1999.

The 90-day delinquency rate for student loans fell 50 basis points during the quarter, but remains high at 11.0% according to the report. However, the true delinquency rate may be twice as high as nearly half of the loans are in deferment.

Read the New York Fed report.
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