Outstanding household debt increased $117 billion from the third quarter, according to the fourth quarter 2014 Household Debt and Credit Report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The 1% increase puts total household indebtedness at $11.83 trillion as of December 31, 2014. Total debt has gone up $326 billion since the fourth quarter of 2013. 

The report is based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, a nationally representative sample drawn from anonymized Equifax credit data.   
Balances were largely up across the board, led by mortgages ($39 billion) and student loans ($31 billion). Auto loan debt and credit card debt increased by $21 billion and $20 billion, respectively. Outstanding student loan balances now stand at $1.16 trillion. 

While overall delinquency rates were unchanged at 4.3% in the fourth quarter, delinquency rates for auto loans and student loans worsened.

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(Source: New York Fed)

The Liberty Street Economics blog post provides a further discussion of the delinquency picture.

“Although we’ve seen an overall improvement in delinquency rates since the Great Recession, the increasing trend in student loan balances and delinquencies is concerning,” said Donghoon Lee, research officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. “Student loan delinquencies and repayment problems appear to be reducing borrowers’ ability to form their own households.”   

Other findings from the report include:

  • Mortgage originations, which are measured as appearances of new mortgage balances and also include refinanced mortgages, increased to $355 billion, but remain low by historical standards.
  • The number of credit inquiries within six months – an indicator of consumer credit demand – increased by 4 million from the previous quarter, to 175 million.