Household Debt Continues Climb

Outstanding household debt increased by 1.6 percent in the third quarter of 2018, rising by $219 billion to land at $13.51 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported today. The increase marks the 17th consecutive quarter of debt growth.

Mortgage balances, the largest component of household debt, increased by $141 billion in the third quarter to total $9.1 trillion — remaining below the 2008 peak of almost $10 trillion. The median credit score for new borrowers was mostly unchanged. Home equity lines of credit continued to decline, falling by $10 billion during the quarter. Among non-mortgage debt categories, student loan balances saw the biggest quarterly increase at $37 billion; auto loan balances rose by $27 billion, and credit card balances rose by $15 billion.

Overall delinquency rates increased, with 4.7 percent of outstanding debt in delinquency, up from 4.5 percent in the second quarter. Mortgage delinquencies were roughly flat, with 1.1 percent of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent. The amount of debt in serious delinquency increased in the third quarter for student loans and credit cards, held steady for auto loans and declined for home equity lines of credit.