America's housing debt balloons
Americans collectively owe over $10 trillion for their homes — and a sizable share of that balance (44%) originated in the past year.
Why it matters: The fresh data point — courtesy of the New York Fed — illustrates the historic mad dash to buy new homes or refinance existing mortgages.
- The last time the share was bigger was about 15 years ago, on the heels of the mortgage refinancing boom in the early aughts.
It's partly explained by a tidal wave of refinancing. Borrowing costs plummeted to record lows — and homeowners rushed to lower mortgage payments. That shows up as a whole lot of new mortgages.
- Then there's skyrocketing home prices: The more expensive the home, the higher the dollar amount per borrower.
What they're saying: "The combination of that refi activity and a strong purchase market last year continuing into this year — there's a lot of volume turning over," says Mike Fratantoni, an economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association.
The big picture: Overall household debt rose by the most since 2007, with credit card balances growing for the first time since the pandemic hit.
- But mortgages continued to be the biggest driver behind the increasing debt pile.