Household Debt Continues Up

Outstanding household debt increased by 0.9% in the first quarter of 2019, rising by $124 billion to land at $13.67 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported today. The increase marks the 19th consecutive quarter of debt growth.

Mortgage balances, the largest component of household debt, increased by $120 billion in the first quarter of 2019, landing at $9.2 trillion. The median credit score for new borrowers edged down slightly for auto loans in the first quarter, but remained flat for mortgages. Home equity lines of credit continued to decline, falling by $6 billion during the quarter. Among non-mortgage debt categories, credit card balances declined by $22 billion while student loan balances rose by $29 billion and auto loan balances rose by $6 billion.

Overall delinquency rates remained steady during the first quarter, with 4.6% of outstanding debt in some stage of delinquency. Mortgage delinquencies improved slightly, with 1% of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent—down from 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2018. The amount of debt flowing into serious delinquency has been rising for credit cards since 2017 and for auto loans since 2012. Student loan delinquency transition rates remain high relative to other types of debt.