Total household debt climbed by $226 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016, rising to $12.58 trillion, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The $12.58 trillion in household debt today is only 0.8 percent shy of its 2008 peak at $12.68 trillion, when the United States was in a recession. The increase in debt in the fourth quarter of 2016 is the largest quarterly increase since the last quarter of 2013.
Most of the increase was credit card debt, followed by student loans. According to the report, credit card balances increased by 4.3 percent since the previous quarter, and student loan balances increased by 2.4 percent.
In the last quarter, credit card balances increased to $779 billion overall, while student loan debt balances rose to $1.31 trillion. The report also finds that 11.2 percent of student loan debt was 90 or more days delinquent or in default.
The other contributors to household debt were auto loan balances and mortgage debt. While auto loan balances increased by 1.9 percent to $1.16 billion, mortgage debt increased by 1.6 percent to $8.48 trillion.
While mortgage debt saw the smallest percentage increase in debt, it takes up the largest share of household debt as a whole. The $8.48 trillion in mortgage debt is more than half of the $12.58 trillion total of household debt.
“Total household debt increased substantially by $226 billion (a 1.8% increase) to $12.58 trillion during the fourth quarter of 2016. This marked the largest quarterly increase in total household debt since the fourth quarter of 2013, and debt today is now just 0.8% below its peak of $12.68 trillion reached in the third quarter of 2008. Every type of debt increased since the previous quarter, with a 1.6% increase in mortgage debt, 1.9% increase in auto loan balances, a 4.3% increase in credit card balances, and a 2.4% percent increase in student loan balances. This boost in balances was in part driven by new extensions of credit, with a large increase in the volume of mortgage originations and a continuation in the strong recent trend in auto loan originations. 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.” – from the report of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
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