Household Debt Continues to Increase

Outstanding household debt increased by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019, rising by $193 billion to land at $14.15 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported today. The increase marks the 22nd consecutive quarter of debt growth.

Mortgage balances, the largest component of household debt, rose by $120 billion in the fourth quarter, landing at $9.56 trillion. The median credit score for new borrowers rose for both mortgages and auto loans in the fourth quarter. Home equity lines of credit continued to decline, falling by $6 billion during the quarter. Among non-mortgage debt categories, credit card balances rose by $46 billion, auto loans rose by $16 billion and student loans rose by $10 billion.

Overall delinquency rates were mostly unchanged during the fourth quarter, with 4.7% of outstanding debt in some stage of delinquency. Mortgage delinquencies ticked up slightly, with 1.1% of mortgage balances 90 days or more delinquent. For auto loans and credit card debt, the flow into serious delinquency held relatively steady, landing at 2.36% for auto loans and 5.32% for credit card debt. Student loan delinquency transition rates continue to remain high relative to other types of debt.