Household Debt Increased by 0.9% in Q1 2023

New York, NY, May 16, 2023-The Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit shows an increase in total household debt in Q1 2023, increasing by $148 billion (0.9%) to $17.05 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Center for Microeconomic Data. Balances now stand $2.9 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 modestly by $121 billion in Q1 2023 and stood at $12.04 trillion at the end of March. Credit card balances were flat in Q1, at $986 billion. Auto loan balances increased by $10 billion in Q1, bucking the typical trend of balance declines in first quarters. Student loan balances slightly increased and now stand at $1.60 trillion. Other balances, which include retail cards and other consumer loans, increased by $5 billion. In total, non-housing balances grew by $24 billion.

Mortgage originations, which include refinances, dropped sharply in Q1 2023 to $324 billion, the lowest level seen since 2014. The volume of newly originated auto loans was $162 billion, a reduction from pandemic-era highs but still elevated compared to pre-Covid volumes. Aggregate limits on credit card accounts increased by $119 billion, representing a 2.7% increase from Q4 2022 levels. Limits on home equity lines of credit were up by $9 billion in Q1.

The share of current debt becoming delinquent increased for most debt types. The delinquency transition rate for credit cards and auto loans increased by 0.6 and 0.2 percentage points, respectively approaching or surpassing their pre-pandemic levels.

The New York Fed also issued an accompanying Liberty Street Economics blog post taking a closer look at housing equity and mortgage refinancing as tools for funding consumer spending. Fourteen million mortgages were refinanced during the pandemic refinancing boom, during which $430 billion of home equity was extracted through cash-out refinances. About 64% of these mortgages were "rate refinances," resulting in an average payment reduction of $220 monthly for those borrowers.

"The mortgage refinancing boom is over, but its impact will be seen for decades to come," said Andrew Haughwout, Director of Household and Public Policy Research at the New York Fed. "As a result of significant equity drawdowns, mortgage borrowers reduced their annual payments by tens of billions of dollars, providing additional funding for spending or paydowns in other debt categories."

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 $324 billion in newly originated mortgage debt in Q1 2023. With the pandemic-era refinance boom over and a slowdown in home sales, both refinance and purchase mortgage originations declined substantially in the first quarter.

* New foreclosures remain low. About 35,000 individuals had new foreclosure notations on their credit reports, roughly in line with Q4 2022 levels.

Student Loans

* Outstanding student loan debt stood at $1.604 trillion in Q1.

* Less than 1% of aggregate student debt was 90+ days delinquent or in default in Q1 2023, a small decline from the previous quarter. Delinquency rates fell substantially in the previous quarter due to the implementation of the Fresh Start program, which made previously defaulted loan balances current.