Akapong Osotsil / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images
Consumer debt rose in the first three months of 2021 largely due to a surge in mortgages and auto loans, the Federal Reserve reported on Wednesday.
Total household debt rose $ 85 billion in the first quarter, a 0.6% increase that brought the total to $ 14.64 trillion.
Due to low interest rates and the glowing real estate market, mortgage debt rose $ 117 billion, or around 1.2%, to $ 10.16 trillion during the period, according to the New York Fed’s quarterly report on household debt and credit. Auto loans rose $ 8 billion to $ 1.38 trillion, while student debt rose $ 29 billion to $ 1.58 trillion, despite many loans granted in forbearance during the coronavirus pandemic were.
A surprise in the report was a significant drop in credit card balances. That level fell $ 49 billion in the quarter, the second largest drop since the New York Fed began tracking in 1999.
Credit card balances are now $ 770 billion, or $ 157 billion less than at the end of 2019, “which is consistent with both borrower withdrawals and reduced consumption options,” the report said.
New York Fed researchers said the latest round of declines was also significantly aided by another round of government economic reviews, this time for $ 1,400. While retail sales have increased, both the savings rate and the share of deleveraging have increased.
The report also noted an overall improvement in credit quality among borrowers.
The median credit anxiety for newly taken out mortgages rose to 788, while the value for new auto loans rose to 720. Only 15% of new auto loans taken out went to subprime borrowers with values below 620.
Crime rates also continued to decline, falling to 3.1% of all debt, a 1.5 percentage point decrease over the same period in 2020.
Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro.
Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV.
Sign up today to start a free trial.
Correction: According to the New York Fed’s quarterly report, mortgage debt rose $ 117 billion, or around 1.2%, to $ 10.16 trillion over the period. In an earlier version, the percentage was incorrectly stated.