Household debt in the US grew to $US11.85 trillion in the during the first quarter of 2015.
According to the New York Federal Reserve’s latest Household Debt and Credit report, this was a modest $US24 billion, or 0.2%, increase from the previous quarter.
“The slowdown in growth can be attributed to a negligible uptick in mortgage balances, which are the largest component of household debt. Mortgage balances stood at $US8.17 trillion in the first quarter,” the NY Fed noted. “Additionally, balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOC), which were $US510 billion at the end of fourth quarter, 2014, were unchanged in the first quarter of this year.”
Overall, household debt is 6.5% below its $US12.68 trillion peak reached in the third quarter of 2008.
On a positive note, the NY Fed highlighted that households were increasingly current on their debts. From the report: “Measures on delinquencies, foreclosures and bankruptcies all improved in the first quarter. The percentage of outstanding debt in some stage of delinquency fell to 5.7 per cent from 6.0 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014, with continuing improvements in mortgages. About 112,000 individuals had a new foreclosure notation added to their credit reports in the first quarter of this year, the lowest total since at least 1999. Four per cent fewer consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports, bringing the quarterly total to its lowest point since early 2006.”
Here are some highlights from the report:
- Mortgage originations, which we measure as appearances of new mortgage balances on consumer credit reports and which includes refinanced mortgages, increased slightly, to $US369 billion, but remain low by historical standards.
- About 112,000 individuals had a new foreclosure notation added to their credit reports between January 1 and March 31, the lowest total observed in the 16-year history of the data.
- Mortgage delinquencies improved, with the share of mortgage balances 90 or more days delinquent decreasing slightly; 3.0% of mortgage balances were 90+ days delinquent during 2015Q1, compared to 3.1% in the previous quarter.
- Although delinquency rates improved, there was a slight worsening in the transition rates for mortgages in early delinquency, with 20.8% of 30-60 day delinquent mortgages transitioning to serious delinquency.
Student Loans, Credit Cards, and Auto Loans
- Outstanding student loan balances reported on credit reports increased to $US1.19 trillion (+$US32 billion) as of March 31, 2015, about a $US78 billion increase from one year ago.
- Student loan delinquency rates improved somewhat in the 1st quarter. About 11.1% of aggregate student loan debt is 90+ days delinquent or in default in 2015Q1, from 11.3% in the third quarter.2
- Auto loan balances stood at $US968 billion, with 3.3% of that balance 90 or more days delinquent.
- Credit card balances decreased slightly, to $US684 billion3.
- The number of credit inquiries within six months — an indicator of consumer credit demand — declined by nearly 5 million from the previous quarter, to 170 million.
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