Press Release

Household Debt Balances Increase Slightly, Boosted By Growth In Auto Loan And Credit Card Balances

December 12, 2016

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today issued its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, which reported that household debt increased by $35 billion (a 0.3 percent increase) to $12.29 trillion during the second quarter of 2016. This moderate growth was driven by increases in auto loan and credit card debt, which increased by $32 billion and $17 billion respectively. Mortgage debt declined by $7 billion in the second quarter, after a $120 billion increase in the first quarter, and student loan balances were roughly flat. Meanwhile, this quarter saw improvements in overall delinquency rates and another historical low (over the 18 years of the data sample) in new foreclosures. This report is based on data from the New York Fed's Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample of individual- and household-level debt and credit records drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.

Overall delinquency rates improved, continuing the trend in place since 2010. In the second quarter, 4.8 percent of outstanding debt was in some stage of delinquency down from 5 percent previous quarter, and 5.6 percent in the second quarter of 2015. There were 82,000 consumers with new foreclosure notations on their credit reports – another low in the 18-year history of this data set.

New extensions of credit for both mortgages and auto loans increased during the second quarter – growing to $427 billion and $149 billion respectively. Additionally, the aggregate credit card limit increased for the 14th consecutive quarter. Developments in the consumer credit card market are outlined in further granularity in the New York Fed's Liberty Street Economics blog post accompanying this report.

"Today's report highlights a positive ongoing trend in household debt," said Donghoon Lee, Research Officer at the New York Fed. "Delinquency rates continue to improve, even as credit has become more widely available."

Household Debt and Credit Developments as of Q2 2016:

Category1 Quarterly Change* Annual Change** Total as of Q2 2016
Mortgage Debt (-) $7 billion (+) $246 billion $8.36 trillion
HELOC (-)$7 billion (-) $21 billion $478 billion
Student Loan Debt2 (-) $2 billion (+) $69 billion $1.26 trillion
Auto Loan Debt (+) $32 billion (+) $97 billion $1.10 trillion
Credit Card Debt (+)$17 billion (+) $26 billion $729 billion
Total Debt (+) $35 billion (+) $434 billion $12.29 trillion


1Delinquency rates are computed as the proportion of the total outstanding debt balance that is at least 90 days past due.

2As explained in a previous report, delinquency rates for student loans are likely to understate effective delinquency rates because about half of these loans are currently in deferment, in grace periods or in forbearance and therefore temporarily not in the repayment cycle. This implies that among loans in the repayment cycle delinquency rates are roughly twice as high.

Household Debt and Credit Report »

About the report
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Household Debt and Credit Report provides unique data and insight into the credit conditions and activity of U.S. consumers. Based on data from the New York Fed's Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data, the report provides a quarterly snapshot of household trends in borrowing and indebtedness, including data about mortgages, student loans, credit cards, auto loans and delinquencies.  The report aims to help community groups, small businesses, state and local governments and the public to better understand, monitor and respond to trends in borrowing and indebtedness at the household level.  Sections of the report are presented as interactive graphs on the New York Fed's Household Credit web page and the full report is available for download.

Betsy Bourassa
(212) 720-6885
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