Consumer debt in the first quarter of 2014 jumped by 1.1%, to nearly $11.7, trillion from the previous quarter, fueled by a rise in mortgage balances.
The volume of outstanding home loans the biggest portion of consumer debtincreased by 1.4%, to $8.7 trillion, even though originations fell 26.5%, to $332 billion, their lowest level since the third quarter of 2011. The Fed said mortgage volume typically moves in lockstep with the originations and that the discrepancy could be explained, in part, by a decline in overall chargeoffs.
"The direction of future mortgage originations will have an important implication on the household financial outlook and we will continue to monitor it," said Andy Haughwout, vice president and economist at the New York Fed.
Student loans also contributed to the quarterly increase. Outstanding student debt climbed 2.8%, to $1.1 trillion.
The uptick in aggregate consumer debt was offset slightly by a $24 billion, or 3.6%, decrease in credit card balances.
The Fed report noted a widespread improvement in delinquency rates, defined as loans more than 90 days past due, for most types of household debt. Mortgage delinquencies dropped to 3.7% from 3.9%, while student loan delinquencies fell to 11% from 11.5%.