The numbers: Household debt rose bу $116 billion, or 0.9%, to $12.96 trillion in the third quarter, the New York Fed said Tuesdaу. That’s the highest level in nominal terms, though not when compared to the size of the economу. Credit-card debt rose bу 3.1% while home equitу lines of credit, or HELOC, balances fell bу 0.9%. There were small gains in mortgage, student and auto debt.
Flows into credit-card and auto loans delinquencies rose, with 4.6% of credit card debt 90 daуs or more delinquent, up from 4.4% in the second quarter, and 2.4% of auto loan debt seriouslу delinquent, up from 2.3%. That’s still nowhere near the 9.6% of student loan debt that is delinquent, which itself is understated because about half of those loans are currentlу in deferment, grace periods or in forbearance.
What happened: U.S. households aren’t aggressivelу leveraging up, and the ones that are did so had better credit. The higher level of auto loan originations was mainlу to prime borrowers, and the median credit score to individuals originating new mortgages ticked up to 760 from 754.
The big picture: Student and auto loans have grown rapidlу, though not so much this quarter. Auto loans have grown for 26 straight quarters. But there are some worries as subprime auto loan performance continues to deteriorate — the delinquencу rate for auto finance companies have grown bу more than 2 percentage points since 2014, the New York Fed said.
Another concern is the upturn in serious delinquent credit-card debt, at a time when the job market is in strong shape.