Aggregate household debt outstanding increased 2.4%, or $289 billion, in the fourth quarter of 2015 when compared to a year earlier when it totaled $12.116 trillion, reports Michael Neal of the National Association of Home Builders' Eye on Housing blog.

According to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report, housing-related debt, mortgages, and home equity lines of credit rose by a combined amount of 0.6%, or $56 billion. The increase in housing-related debt outstanding reflected a 1.0%, or $79 billion, increase in mortgage debt outstanding. Home equity lines of credit fell by 4.5%, or $23 billion.

The expansion in outstanding household debt largely reflected growth in non-housing related debt outstanding. Over the year, households’ non-housing related debt outstanding increased by 7.4%, or $233 billion, as each component of non-housing related debt registered year-over-year increases. Auto loans rose by 11.4%, or $109 billion, student loans grew by 6.5%, or $75 billion, credit card debt increased by 4.7%, or $33 billion, and other debt outstanding expanded by 4.8%, or $16 billion. Other consumer debt includes consumer finance (sales financing, personal loans) and retail (clothing, grocery, department stores, home furnishings, gas, etc) loans. Overall household debt outstanding remains 4.4% below its third quarter of 2008 peak level of $12.675 trillion.

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