U.S. consumers in the first quarter borrowed more to pay for education and automobiles, but overall their debt burden was relatively flat, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The report, released Tuesday, found that student loan balances rose by $32 billion, to $1.19 trillion, when compared with the last three months of 2014. Auto loan debt rose by $13 billion, to $968 billion.
But the expansions in those two sectors were muted by a lack of growth in the $8.17 trillion market for housing debt; mortgage balances rose by a measly $1 billion in the quarter, and balances on home equity lines of credit were unchanged.
In a news release, New York Fed economist Andrew Haughwout attributed the sluggish growth in housing debt to tight standards on mortgage lending.
The amount of credit card debt outstanding fell by $16 billion in the first quarter to $684 billion, according to the report. That was despite the fact that the aggregate credit card limit rose 0.9% from the previous quarter.
The percentage of consumer debt that was at least 90 days late was unchanged in the first quarter at 4.3%, the New York Fed found. The 90-day delinquency rates for mortgages, student loans and auto loans all fell, while the comparable rate for credit cards rose to 8.4% from 7.3% a year earlier.
The report, which is based on a sample of data from Equifax, also found that 255,000 consumers had a bankruptcy notation added to their credit reports during the first quarter. That was the lowest quarterly total in about nine years.
In a separate survey released Monday, the New York Fed found that 23% of U.S. consumers expect that credit will be easier to obtain in April 2016, while 30% of consumers expect it to be harder to obtain.