According to the latest stats, consumer debt in the US reached $15.6 trillion by the end of 2021. In fact, this is the biggest growth since 2007 and 2003 when the quarterly and annual rises were at a record high.
To be more precise, there was a year-over-year surge of $333 billion in Q4 of 2021 and more than $1 trillion for the whole year.
Now, regarding the debts, the most significant increase came from mortgages ($258 billion for Q4 and $890 billion for the entire year), which totaled almost $11 trillion. This comes as no surprise, given that 44% of Americans have a mortgage.
Moreover, the average price of a single-family home in 2021 rose to an all-time high of $353,900.
At the same time, credit card balances grew by $52 billion in Q4 of 2021, reaching $860 billion due to inflation, holiday spending, and the changes in gas and food prices.
Another source suggests that auto-loan balances increased by 6.6% (i.e., $90 billion), totaling a staggering $1.46 trillion. What’s more, the new auto prices dramatically increased — 11.8% as a matter of fact — whereas the prices for used vehicles skyrocketed by another 37.3%.
Despite this rapid surge, the automotive financing market didn’t experience a significant disruption compared to other types of consumer debts.
On the other hand, the lowest increase was noted in student loans, which were higher by a “mere” $20 billion. Interestingly, the student loan debts even declined in Q4 2021 thanks to the payment pause for student loan borrowers and debt forgiveness.