Mortgage balances in America rose in the third quarter of 2023 from $11.7 trillion to $11.8 trillion, representing a 3% year-over-year increase. Along with overall rising consumer debt, delinquencies on those loans are also climbing. This is detailed in TransUnion’s third-quarter study on personal debt in America.
When it comes to mortgage loans, quarterly TransUnion studies have shown six consecutive quarters of delinquency increases. They are inching closer to pre-pandemic levels, Joe Mellman, SVP at TransUnion said.
Non-payments increased across all stages—early, mid, and late, and on all loan types.
Mellman says record levels of home equity could prove to be “a viable solution to ease debt pressures” in the midst of increasing non-mortgage debt and delinquencies.
Tappable homeowner equity inched up 1% for the year to $19.7 trillion.
Mortgage originations were down 37% annually, falling to 1.2 million, which is comparable to volumes last seen in Q2 2014, according to TransUnion analysts.
Purchases made up 87% of the volume in Q2, down 28% from Q2 2022’s 1.5 million.
Refinance was down 64%, 425,000 to 151,000, with rate and term and cash-out refinance originations falling 63% and 65% respectively.
In the Q3 2023 Quarterly Credit Industry Insights Report, TransUnion found that high interest rates and higher-than-expected costs for goods and services “continue to squeeze the wallets of American consumers.”
Thus, many Americans continue to leverage their existing credit account lines more than ever, analysts pointed out.
“At the same time, affordability challenges for homes and automobiles, as well as growing concerns over rising debt service costs, have resulted in consumers opening fewer new credit accounts,” the authors added.
Of particular note in TransUnion’s debt report is the overall balance share of Millennials, which has now surpassed that of Baby Boomers. Only Generation X holds higher balances.
The average per-consumer balance also increased by double-digits for the year, up 11%, to $6,088. That’s the highest average balance per consumer in the last 10 years.
Charlie Wise, SVP of global research and consulting at TransUnion says that in the face of elevated costs, consumers have increasingly turned to their existing available credit lines.
“It will be worth watching how those balances are further impacted as some consumers begin feeling the pinch of the resumption of student loan payments.”
The full report with additional expert commentary and methodology is available at TransUnion.com.