Household Debt Reaches New High

Wall Street 24/7 reports that household debt has now reached levels higher than it was in 2007:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has released its Household Debt and Credit Report for the first quarter of 2017. While the economy has been recovering and while things feel better on the business front, there are some very troubling internal metrics when it comes to debt levels and delinquency rates.

According to the report, household debt has now reached an all-time high. Gains in mortgage debt, auto debt and student debt were all cited. This all-time high now stands at $12.73 trillion and was $149 billion higher than in the fourth quarter of 2016. What stands out here is that it is about $50 billion above the previous peak reached back in the third quarter of 2008 — right before the recession kicked into overdrive.

I think it’s fair to say that deleveraging has ended. Indeed, as the graph above illustrates, it ended in 2013. The good news, such as it is, is that bankruptcy notations and credit inquiries are both declining. Although that suggests there is no imminent red flag, it also tells us that all other things being equal we shouldn’t expect strong growth in the near future.

6 comments… add one
  • Steve

    Should match this up with corporate debt.


  • You wish is my command: here.

    If debt was a major problem in 2007 it’s a much more serious one now. Government, business, and household debt are all up enormously. As TastyBits would probably point out, it’s hard to see this continuing.

  • steve

    Thanks. Swamped at work. Kind of what I expected. I hope the quality of the debt is not as bad as it was in 2007.


  • steve
  • That’s actually even more horrifying, steve. Look at the hugely increased volume of student loans! Those aren’t dischargeable in bankruptcy. I don’t think that the borrowers appreciate that the jobs they’ll be able to get may make paying their debts extremely difficult.

  • Guarneri

    The very point I made to a piece you wrote reasonably recently in which some academic was going on about deleveraging. I’ve seen first hand the travesty of subprime auto lending, and of course the use of student loans for crap degrees………..and spring break bacchanalian weeks is legendary.

    One wonders what the real GDP growth rate has been the past 3 years.

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