US household debt jumped during the third quarter at its fastest pace in 15 years due to increases in credit card usage and mortgage balances, a Federal Reserve report revealed this week.
According to the Fed, total debt hit a record $16.5 trillion, up 2.2% from the previous quarter and 8.3% from a year ago. Households added $351 billion in debt for the July-to-September period, the regulator said.
The increase follows a $310 billion leap in the second quarter and represents an annual rise of $1.27 trillion. Debt has surged over the past year due to soaring inflation, rising interest rates and strong consumer demand.
Mortgage balances rose by $282 billion in the third quarter of 2022 and stood at $11.67 trillion at the end of September, representing a $1 trillion increase from the previous year. Credit card balances also increased by $38 billion. The 15% year-over-year increase in credit card balances represents the largest in more than 20 years.
Auto loan balances increased by $22 billion in the third quarter, consistent with the upward trajectory seen since 2011. Student loan balances slightly declined and now stand at $1.57 trillion. In total, non-housing balances grew by $66 billion.
Mortgage originations, which include refinances, stood at $633 billion in the third quarter, representing a $126 billion decline from the second quarter and a return to pre-pandemic volumes.
The volume of newly originated auto loans was $185 billion, a slight reduction from the previous quarter but still elevated compared to the average volumes seen through the 2018-2019 period. Aggregate limits on credit card accounts increased by $82 billion and now stand at $4.3 trillion.
“Credit card, mortgage, and auto loan balances continued to increase in the third quarter of 2022 reflecting a combination of robust consumer demand and higher prices,” said Donghoon Lee, Economic Research Advisor at the New York Fed. “However, new mortgage originations have slowed to pre-pandemic levels amid rising interest rates.”
The share of current debt becoming delinquent increased 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 about half a percentage point, similar to increases seen in the second quarter.