Total outstanding balances and new credit in auto lending reached record highs this year as the sector continues to lead the economic recovery, according to the latest Equifax National Consumer Credit Trends Report.

Outstanding balances soared to $884 billion in April, up 10.8% from the same time a year ago. New credit reached $69.6 billion year-to-date in February, up more than 13% from a year ago. Serious delinquencies in auto lending represent less than 1% of total outstanding balances, the lowest mark in more than five years.

"By any metric you consider, whether new originations, total balances or low delinquency levels, the auto sector is running on all cylinders," says Amy Crews Cutts, chief economist at Equifax. "The boom in auto purchases ended in 2004 and people are now thinking about replacing their jalopies as the average age of a car on the road today is over 11.4 years old and the financing terms are favorable for those with decent credit histories."

Other highlights from the most recent Equifax data include:

First Mortgage
   - Though down from the previous month, the total balance of first mortgages outstanding in April increased 2.7% from same time a year ago;

   - Delinquent first mortgages, those 30-days or more past due, represent less than 4.94% of outstanding balances, a decrease of more than 24% from same time a year ago;

   - Similarly, the total balance of first mortgages 90-days past due or in foreclosure is less than $240 billion, a six year low and a decrease of more than 30% from same time a year ago; and

   - Delinquencies on first mortgages originated 2010 and later represent 10% of total delinquencies.

Home Equity Revolving
   - The total limit of new credit year-to-date in February is $14.4 billion, a five-year high and an increase of 15.8% from same time a year ago;

   - Over 140,000 new loans were originated year-to-date in February, a five-year high and a year-over-year increase of 8%;

   - The total balance of severely delinquent home equity revolving loans in April 2014 is less than $8 billion, a five-year low and a decrease of 12% from same time a year ago; and

   - The total balance outstanding on home equity revolving loans continues to decline, falling 6.1% in April from the same time last year and shedding 29% relative to the May 2009 peak.

Home Equity Installment
   - The total balance of home equity installment loans has fallen 13.3% from same time a year ago and is down 58% from the September 2007 high;

   - The total number of home equity installment loans outstanding has fallen 11% from April 2013;

   - The total balance of home equity installment loans in foreclosure is $400 million; and

   - The total balance of severely delinquent home equity installment loans (90 days past due or in foreclosure) is slightly over $3 billion, a five-year low and a decrease of nearly 35% from same time a year ago.

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