Press Release

Total Household Debt Reaches $16.90 trillion in Q4 2022; Mortgage and Auto Loan Growth Slows

Credit card balances jump to $986 billion, marking a new series high
February 16, 2023

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 an increase in total household debt in the fourth quarter of 2022, increasing by $394 billion (2.4%) to $16.90 trillion. Balances now stand $2.75 trillion higher than at the end of 2019, before the pandemic recession. The report is based on data from the New York Fed's nationally representative Consumer Credit Panel.

Mortgage balances rose by $254 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022 and stood at $11.92 trillion at the end of December, marking a nearly $1 trillion increase in mortgage balances in 2022.

Credit card balances increased $61 billion in the fourth quarter to $986 billion, surpassing the pre-pandemic high of $927 billion. Auto loan balances increased by $28 billion in the fourth quarter, consistent with the upward trajectory seen since 2011. Student loan balances now stand at $1.60 trillion, up by $21 billion from the previous quarter. In total, non-housing balances grew by $126 billion.

Mortgage originations, which include refinances, fell to $498 billion in the fourth quarter, representing a return to lower levels last seen in 2019. The volume of newly originated auto loans was $186 billion, representing a slight increase from the previous quarter. Aggregate limits on credit card accounts increased by $88 billion in the fourth quarter and now stand at $4.4 trillion.

The share of current debt becoming delinquent increased again in the fourth quarter for nearly all debt types, following two years of historically low delinquency transitions. The delinquency transition rate for credit cards and auto loans increased by 0.6 and 0.4 percentage points, respectively.

"Credit card balances grew robustly in the 4th quarter, while mortgage and auto loan balances grew at a more moderate pace, reflecting activity consistent with pre-pandemic levels," said Wilbert van der Klaauw, economic research advisor at the New York Fed. "Although historically low unemployment has kept consumer's financial footing generally strong, stubbornly high prices and climbing interest rates may be testing some borrowers' ability to repay their debts."

The New York Fed also issued an accompanying Liberty Street Economics blog post examining credit card and auto loan delinquency, with a focus on borrowers by age. While delinquency transition rates appear relatively small, a closer look at the uptick reveals some signs of stress amongst younger borrowers who are beginning to miss some credit card and auto loan payments.

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 $498 billion in newly originated mortgage debt in Q4 2022. After two years of historically high volumes of mortgage originations, the Q4 volume more closely resembles pre-pandemic volumes.
  • Although the foreclosure moratoria have been lifted nationally, new foreclosures have stayed very low since the CARES Act moratorium was put into place. About 34,000 individuals had new foreclosure notations on their credit reports.

Student Loans

  • Outstanding student loan debt stood at $1.60 trillion in Q4 2022.
  • Less than 1% of aggregate student debt was 90+ days delinquent or in default in Q4 2022. The sharp drop in the student debt delinquency reflects the beginning of the Fresh Start program, which marked over $34 billion defaulted loans as current, amid the continued repayment pause on student loans.

Household Debt and Credit Developments as of Q4 2022

Quarterly Change * (Billions $) Annual Change** (Billions $) Total As Of Q4 2022 (Trillions $)
Mortgage Debt (+) $254 (+) $993 $11.92
Home Equity Line Of Credit (+) $14 (+) $18 $0.34
Student Debt (+) $21 (+) $19 $1.60
Auto Debt (+) $28 (+) $94 $1.55
Credit Card Debt (+) $61 (+) $130 $0.99
Other (+) $16 (+) $69 $0.51
Total Debt (+) $394 (+) $1323 $16.90

*Change from Q3 2022 to Q4 2022

** Change from Q4 2021 to Q4 2022

Flow into Serious Delinquency (90 days or more delinquent)

Q4 2021 Q4 2022
Mortgage Debt 0.3% 0.57%
Home Equity Line Of Credit 0.3% 0.51%
Student Loan Debt 1.1% 1.02%
Auto Loan Debt 1.6% 2.22%
Credit Card Debt 3.2% 4.01%
Other 2.9% 3.96%
ALL 0.70% 1.03%

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.

Shelley Pitterson
(917) 698-0510
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