Aggregate household debt balances increased in the first quarter of 2018, for the fifteenth consecutive quarter, and are now $526 billion higher than the previous (2008:Q3) peak of $12.68 trillion. As of March 31, 2018, total household indebtedness was $13.21 trillion, a $63 billion (0.5 percent) increase from the fourth quarter of 2017. Overall household debt is now 18.5 percent above the 2013:Q2 trough.
- Mortgage balances, the largest component of household debt, increased somewhat during the first quarter. Mortgage balances shown on consumer credit reports on March 31 stood at $8.94 trillion, an increase of $57 billion from the fourth quarter of 2017.
- Balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOC), in stark contrast to mortgage balances, have been continuously declining; in the first quarter, they fell by $8 billion and now stand at $436 billion.
Non-housing debt balances, although they continued their continuous upward trend, grew more slowly in the months following Christmas. In the first quarter, balances increased by a net $18 billion. Auto loans grew by $8 billion, while credit card balances declined by $19 billion, consistent with the early-year seasonal pattern. Student loan balances, similar to previous first quarters, continued their rise with an increase of $29 billion.
Aggregate delinquency rates continued to improve in the first quarter of 2018. As of March 31, 4.6 percent of outstanding debt was in some stage of delinquency. Of the $605 billion of debt that is delinquent, $407 billion is seriously delinquent (at least 90 days late or “severely derogatory”). The flow into 90+ days delinquency for credit card balances has been increasing notably since the middle of 2016, while the flow into 90+ days delinquency for auto loan balances has been slowly increasing since 2012.