Press Release

Total Household Debt Increases in Q1 2022, Driven by Mortgage and Auto Balances

Mortgage and auto loan originations subside after historically high volumes seen in 2021
May 10, 2022

NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today issued its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit. The Report shows a solid increase in total household debt in the first quarter of 2022, increasing by $266 billion (1.7%) to $15.84 trillion. Balances now stand $1.7 trillion higher than at the end of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. The report is based on data from the New York Fed’s nationally representative Consumer Credit Panel.

Mortgage balances rose by $250 billion in the first quarter of 2022 and stood at $11.18 trillion at the end of March. In line with seasonal trends typically seen at the start of the year, credit card balances declined by $15 billion. Credit card balances are still $71 billion higher than Q1 2021 and represent a substantial year-over-year increase. Auto loan balances increased by $11 billion in the first quarter, while student loan balances increased by $14 billion and now stand at $1.59 trillion. In total, non-housing balances grew by $17 billion.

Mortgage and auto loan originations both declined in the first quarter, after historically high volumes in 2021. Mortgage originations were at $859 billion, representing a decline from the high volumes seen during 2021, yet still $197 billion higher than in Q1 2020, right before the pandemic hit the United States. The volume of newly originated auto loans was $177 billion during the first quarter, primarily reflecting an increase in auto prices. Aggregate limits on credit card accounts increased by $64 billion and now stand at $4.12 trillion–$224 billion above the pre-pandemic level.

“The first quarter of 2022 saw an increase in mortgage and auto loan balances coupled with a typical seasonal decrease in credit card balances,” said Andrew Haughwout, Director of Household and Public Policy Research Division at the New York Fed. “However, mortgage originations declined from the historically high volumes seen in 2021, reflecting an unwinding in the demand for refinances.” 

The New York Fed also issued an accompanying Liberty Street Economics blog post on mortgage originations, including additional insight into the breakout between purchase and refinances.

The share of current debt transitioning into delinquency increased modestly for nearly all debt types but remains historically low. The delinquency transition rate for credit cards increased by 0.2 percentage point, while mortgages, auto loans, and home equity lines of credit all saw 0.1 percentage point increases. Although the number of new foreclosures remains very low, there was a small uptick in new foreclosures in Q1 2022.

The Quarterly Report includes a summary of key takeaways and their supporting data points. Overarching trends from the report’s summary include:

Housing Debt

  • There was $859 billion in newly originated mortgage debt in Q1 2022, with 68% of it originated to borrowers with credit scores over 760. Two percent of newly originated mortgages were originated to subprime borrowers, a sharp contrast to the 12% average seen between 2003-2007.
  • About 24,000 individuals had a new foreclosure notation added to their credit reports during the first quarter, compared to only 9,000 individuals in the fourth quarter of 2021, reflecting the partial resumption on new foreclosures. Although the hold on foreclosures due to CARES was lifted on July 31, 2021, additional federal and state policies may continue to forestall some foreclosure starts.
  • The share of mortgage balances 90+ days past due remained at 0.5%, a historic low.

Student Loans

  • Outstanding student loan debt stood at $1.59 trillion in Q1 2022, a $14 billion increase from Q4 2021.
  • About 5% of aggregate student debt was 90+ days delinquent or in default in Q1 2022. The lower level of student debt delinquency reflects a Department of Education decision to report current status on loans eligible for CARES Act forbearances.

Account Closings, Credit Inquiries and Collection Accounts

  • The number of credit inquiries within the past six months–an indicator of consumer credit demand–was at 109 million, a 5.1% decline from the previous quarter.
  • 229 million new accounts were opened in the first quarter, an uptick from the previous quarter and slightly higher than typical pre-pandemic levels.
  • Household Debt and Credit Developments as of Q1 2022

    Category Quarterly Change * (Billions $) Annual Change**
    (Billions $)
    Total As Of Q1 2022 (Trillions $)
    Mortgage Debt (+) $250 (+) $1,020 $11.18
    Home Equity Line Of Credit (-) $1 (-) $18 $0.32
    Student Debt (+) $14 (+) $6 $1.59
    Auto Debt (+) $11 (+) $87 $1.47
    Credit Card Debt (-) $15 (+) $71 $0.84
    Other (+) $7 (+) $32 $0.45
    Total Debt (+) $266 (+) $1,198 $15.84

    * Change from Q4 2021 to Q1 2022
    ** Change from Q1 2021 to Q1 2022

    Flow into Serious Delinquency (90 days or more delinquent)

    Category 1 Q1 2021 Q1 2022
    Mortgage Debt 0.42% 0.34%
    Home Equity Line Of Credit 0.50% 0.26%
    Student Loan Debt 1.02% 1.05%
    Auto Loan Debt 1.72% 1.61%
    Credit Card Debt 3.78% 3.04%
    Other 3.25% 2.88%
    ALL 0.86% 0.71%

    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 Debt and Credit Report web page and the full report is available for download.

    1 Rates represent annualized shares of balances transitioning into delinquency. Flow into serious delinquency is computed as the balances that have newly become at least 90 days late in the reference quarter divided by the balances that were current of less than 90 days past due in the previous quarter.
Mariah Measey
(347) 978-3071 
By continuing to use our site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Statement. You can learn more about how we use cookies by reviewing our Privacy Statement.   Close