US housing debt surges to $9.4T, topping record high from 2008

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Residential mortgage debt in the U.S. reached a new high in the three months through June, topping a previous record during the height of the financial crisis.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Tuesday that home loan balances grew by $162 billion in the second quarter of 2019 to $9.4 trillion, exceeding the $9.3 trillion peak in the third quarter of 2008. Mortgage originations, including refinances, also increased by $130 billion to $474 billion, the New York Fed found.

“While nominal mortgage balances are now slightly above the previous peak seen in the third quarter of 2008, mortgage delinquencies and the average credit profile of mortgage borrowers have continued to improve,” Wilbert van der Klaauw, a senior vice president at the bank, said.

Total household debt also rose by $192 billion to $13.86 trillion in the second quarter of this year, with mortgages making up the largest component. Housing debt has grown steadily since the second quarter of 2013, and the latest rise marks the 20th consecutive quarter with an increase.

Mortgage debt currently tops student debt and auto debt, and Americans borrowing for vehicles ticked up for the second quarter of 2019. But outstanding student debt dropped slightly by $8 billion in that same time frame, though such a decrease is typical for this time of year.

Credit card balances rose to $868 billion from $848 billion.

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