Household Debt Spikes Amid Rise in Home Prices, Buying Frenzy

The total number of household debt held by Americans has spiked in 2021, rising to nearly $15 trillion in the largest second quarter increase in about 14 years.

The total amount of housing debt held by Americans bounced by more than $300 billion last quarter. Household debt forms the vasty majority of total debt held by Americans, significantly outpacing auto loans, credit cards and other debt vehicles.

New York Fed analyst Joelle Scally told CNBC that the U.S. has “seen a very robust pace of originations over the last four quarters with new extensions of credit for mortgages and auto loans combined with rebounding demand for credit card borrowing,” though she noted that mortgage forbearance numbers remain high.

All forms of debt in the U.S. have been on a steady upward trajectory since roughly 2013 after taking a downtown amid the 2008 financial crisis.