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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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.
Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

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.

Go deeper

Understanding corporate America’s debt binge

Expand chart
Data: LCD, an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

U.S. companies are still binging on debt, as interest rates remain near record lows.

Driving the news: With the third quarter now in the books, we can see that the dollar amount of year-to-date leveraged loans and high yield bond sales are unmatched in recent history. This debt is the type issued by companies with lower credit ratings.

Homeowners face new risks and costs

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Tom Brenner/AFP via Getty Images)

Property owners are now seeing the real, personal cost of climate change, as some homes are in danger of becoming increasingly expensive to insure — forcing property values to plummet and turning interested buyers away.

  • Starting this month, new National Flood Insurance Program policies will no longer include subsidized plans that for decades helped prop up home values in some of the most dangerous flood zones. 

Biden says he can't guarantee U.S. won't hit debt ceiling

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 4, 2021. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday urged Republican lawmakers to "let the Democrats vote to raise the debt ceiling this week" as the Oct. 18 deadline looms.

Driving the news: "If you don't want to help save the country, get out of the way so you don't destroy it," Biden said.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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