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July 15, 2021 - U.S. consumer debt soared by $85 billion to $14.64 trillion in the first three months of 2021, driven by a jump in mortgages, auto and student loans -- the largest components of household debt.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit show that total household debt increased by $85 billion (0.6 per cent) to $14.64 trillion in the first quarter of 2021.
Fueled by low rates and a red-hot housing market, mortgage debt rose by $117 billion in the first quarter of 2021 and stood at $10.16 trillion at the end of March.
Auto and student loan balances increased by $8 billion and $29 billion in the first quarter, respectively.
One surprise in the report came from a substantial decline in credit card debt. Credit card balances now total $770 billion, or $157 billion lower than they were at the end of 2019, “consistent with both paydowns among borrowers and reduced consumption opportunities,” the report stated.
In total, non-housing balances (including credit card, auto loan, student loan, and other debts) decreased by $18 billion and are now $49 billion below the 2019-Q4 level.