Household Debt Jumps in Fourth Quarter of 2017

Outstanding household debt increased by 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, rising by $193 billion to land at $13.15 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said today. The quarterly increase marks the fifth straight year of positive annual debt growth.

Mortgages balances were up substantially, increasing $139 billion from the third quarter of 2017, and the median credit score for new mortgage borrowers fell. A modest decline — 0.9 percent — was seen in HELOC balances, however. Auto loans and student loans also increased, with auto loans on the rise since 2011.

Overall delinquency rates improved, with 4.7 percent of outstanding debt in delinquency. Mortgage delinquencies improved, with 1.3 percent of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent. Auto loan delinquency was up from the previous quarter and credit card balances increased by $26 billion.