Mortgage Debt's Share of Total Debt Keeps Declining

Monday, November 14, 2016
BlogImage_Mortgage
Thinkstock/MattKay

Mortgage debt remains the largest share of debt for many households, but its share has been on the decline, according to the latest issue of the Quarterly Debt Monitor.

Don Schlagenhauf, chief economist of the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability, and Lowell Ricketts, senior analyst of the center, noted that mortgage debt comprised 74 percent of total debt nationally at its peak in the third quarter of 2007.

Following the peak, however, consumers shed $340 billion in mortgage debt in a year. This was one factor in mortgage debt’s share of total debt declining 6 percentage points since the peak.

Importance of Other Debt Grows

Schlagenhauf and Ricketts noted that per capita mortgage debt grew marginally in the second quarter on a year-over-year basis. This was the first increase since the first quarter of 2009.

Auto and student debt, on the other hand, have grown rapidly and have increased their share of total debt. The authors noted that auto and student debt have grown 2.2 percentage points and 6.4 percentage points, respectively, since the third quarter of 2007. The two categories now account for 9.1 percent and 10 percent of total debt, respectively.

Changes in Per Capita Debt Levels

Mortgage debt grew 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2016 on a year-over-year basis, while home equity lines of credit decreased 2.3 percent. All other categories of consumer debt rose during the second quarter:

  • Auto debt rose 8.3 percent.
  • Credit card debt rose 1.9 percent.
  • Student debt rose 3.9 percent.

Additional Resources

Posted In Housing  |  Tagged don schlagenhauflowell rickettsmortgageshousingmortgage debtauto debtstudent debtstudent loanscenter for household financial stabilityhfs
Commenting Policy: We encourage comments and discussions on our posts, even those that disagree with conclusions, if they are done in a respectful and courteous manner. All comments posted to our blog go through a moderator, so they won't appear immediately after being submitted. We reserve the right to remove or not publish inappropriate comments. This includes, but is not limited to, comments that are:
  • Vulgar, obscene, profane or otherwise disrespectful or discourteous
  • For commercial use, including spam
  • Threatening, harassing or constituting personal attacks
  • Violating copyright or otherwise infringing on third-party rights
  • Off-topic or significantly political
The St. Louis Fed will only respond to comments if we are clarifying a point. Comments are limited to 1,500 characters, so please edit your thinking before posting. While you will retain all of your ownership rights in any comment you submit, posting comments means you grant the St. Louis Fed the royalty-free right, in perpetuity, to use, reproduce, distribute, alter and/or display them, and the St. Louis Fed will be free to use any ideas, concepts, artwork, inventions, developments, suggestions or techniques embodied in your comments for any purpose whatsoever, with or without attribution, and without compensation to you. You will also waive all moral rights you may have in any comment you submit.
comments powered by Disqus

The St. Louis Fed uses Disqus software for the comment functionality on this blog. You can read the Disqus privacy policy. Disqus uses cookies and third party cookies. To learn more about these cookies and how to disable them, please see this article.

Subscribe to
On the Economy

Get notified when new content is available on our On the Economy blog.

Email Alerts  |  RSS

About the Blog

The St. Louis Fed On the Economy blog features relevant commentary, analysis, research and data from our economists and other St. Louis Fed experts.


Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or of the Federal Reserve System.

Contact Us

For media-related questions, email mediainquiries@stls.frb.org. For all other blog-related questions or comments, email on-the-economy@stls.frb.org.

Categories