Total Household Debt Remains Sluggish Yet Non-Housing Debt Continues Expanding
November 30, 2016

Student, Auto and Credit Card Debt Increase Robustly; Increases in Delinquency Rates Seen Among Subprime Auto Loans

NEW YORK – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York today issued its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, which reported that total household debt increased modestly by $63 billion (a 0.5% increase) to $12.35 trillion during the third quarter of 2016. There were increases across every type of non-housing debt, with a 2.9% increase in auto loan balances, a 2.5% increase in credit card balances, and a 1.6% percent increase in student loan balances this quarter. 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.

The New York Fed also issued a new blog post in conjunction with the report which shows deteriorating performance in subprime auto loans.

“This quarter, mortgage balance growth remained low in part due to tight lending standards, while non-housing debt continued its steady rise seen since the financial crisis,” said Andrew Haughwout, senior vice president at the New York Fed. “Subprime and overall auto loan originations remained strong and auto loan delinquency rates were low and relatively flat. Yet disaggregating results by credit score revealed significantly higher, and rising, delinquency rates among subprime auto loans.”

Key findings from this quarter can be found in the front of the Report. These findings include:

Housing Debt:

  • Compared to last quarter, mortgage balances declined slightly while mortgage originations grew moderately again.
  • Mortgage delinquencies continued to decline as seen since the financial crisis, while new foreclosure notations reached another new low for the 18-year history of this series.

Non-Housing Debt:

  • Auto loan originations remained at the high levels seen over the past six quarters and comparable to the peak seen one year ago.
  • The aggregate credit card limit increased for the 15th consecutive quarter.
  • Student loan balances increased—marking an increase in every year throughout the 18-year history of this series.

Bankruptcies & Delinquencies Overall

  • Overall delinquency rates worsened slightly this quarter, while the rate of bankruptcy notations continued its overall trend of improving since the financial crisis.

Household Debt and Credit Developments as of Q3 2016:

Category Quarterly Change* Annual Change** Total as of Q3 2016
Mortgage Debt (-) $12 billion (+) $90 billion $8.35 trillion
HELOC (-) $6 billion (-) $20 billion $472 billion
Student Loan Debt (+) $20 billion (+) $76 billion $1.28 trillion
Auto Loan Debt (+) $32 billion (+) $90 billion $1.14 trillion
Credit Card Debt (+)$18 billion (+) $33 billion $747 billion
Total Debt (+) $63 billion (+) $285 billion $12.35 trillion

*Change from Q2 2016 to Q3 2016
**Change from Q3 2015 to Q3 2016

90 + day delinquency rates (known as “seriously delinquent”):

Category1 Q3 2016 Q2 2016
Mortgage Debt 1.6% 1.8%
HELOC 2.0% 2.0%
Student Loan Debt1 10.9% 11.1%
Auto Loan Debt 3.6% 3.5%
Credit Card Debt 7.1% 7.2%
All 3.3% 3.3%

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

2 As 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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