The discussion on Household Debt provoked a firestorm of commentary. I refused to rise to the bait that if only debt were inflation adjusted, it would be insignificant.
The Federal Reserve just released their data on the issue: Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios — and its quite instructive.
The Survey breaks out mortgage obligations from consumer debt:
Mortgages only: 10.35% this is the highest amount in nearly 15 years — Q3 1991.
Consumer debt only: 5.82%. This is the first time this number has slipped below 6% for 4 consecutive quarters since Q4 1996.
This removes any and all doubt that HELOC and REFIs have replaced credit card debt.
All of the data is here in XL format, for those of you who can make a pretty chart out of what looks like subtle variations in percentages. Download fed_household_debt.xls
Household Debt Service and Financial Obligations Ratios
Last update: June 15, 2005
(About the release)
Recent Changes to a Measure of U.S. Household Debt Service
Karen Dynan, Kathleen Johnson, Karen Pence
Federal Reserve Bulletin, October 2003