Fed report on household debt and credit; 4Q/21

Auto Loan Originations Help Drive Total Household Debt to $15.58 Trillion

According to the latest Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, total household debt rose by $333 billion (2.2 percent) to reach $15.58 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Mortgage balances—the largest component of household debt—rose by $258 billion.

The volume of newly originated auto loans was $181 billion during the fourth quarter, primarily reflecting a higher origination amount per loan rather than more loans originated.

Credit card balances increased by $52 billion, while student loan debt contracted by $8 billion, remaining roughly flat in nominal terms at the end of 2021 after almost two decades of steady increases.

Mortgage balances shown on consumer credit reports increased by $258 billion during the fourth quarter of 2021 and stood at $10.93 trillion at the end of December. Balances on home equity lines of credit (HELOC) were up very slightly, bucking a declining trend in place since 2016Q4, and keeping the outstanding balance at $318 billion. Credit card balances increased by $52 billion, the largest quarterly increase observed in the 22 year history of the data. Despite the substantial increase, credit card balances are $71 billion lower than at the end of 2019. Auto loan balances increased by $15 billion in the fourth quarter, a change similar to that seen in the fourth quarter in the previous two years. Student loan balances contracted by $8 billion in the fourth quarter of 2021, and marked a $21 billion increase since 2020Q4 –the smallest annual increase seen in nearly two decades. In total, non-housing balances grew by $74 billion, boosted additionally by a $15 billion increase in other balances.

Click on the following link to view the full report;


About TARR Report

S.M.A. Publications was formed in 1997 with a mission of providing real estate information for practitioners within the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina. The company produces the T.A.R.R. Reports which are published monthly, quarterly and annually, covering all aspects of the residential real estate market. The publisher, Stacey P. Anfindsen, has over 23 years of residential experience in the Triangle market. He is an active real estate appraiser, educator and consultant.
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