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Household Debt Climbs, Led by Mortgages, Credit Cards

April 16, 2018
Credit Cards
q4-2017-hhd-study-update
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Household debt increased slightly in all major debt categories except for auto loans during the last quarter of 2017, according to NerdWallet research.

The most significant bump was mortgage debt, which increased by more than $3,000 per household. Credit card debt went up by $250 per household.

Average balance for households with each type of debt:

TYPE OF DEBTQ3 2017Q4 2017PERCENTAGE CHANGE
Credit cards$15,733$15,9831.59%
Mortgages$174,867$178,0371.81%
Auto loans$27,807$27,755(0.19%)
Student loans$46,831$47,0470.46%
Any type of debt$132,090$133,5681.12%

“The growth in credit card debt — likely related to holiday spending — underscores the struggle for many consumers to spend less than they earn,” says Kimberly Palmer, NerdWallet’s credit card expert. “Credit card debt tends to come with high interest rates, which means carrying debt month to month can create significant financial stress. If you are carrying high-interest credit card debt, then take the time to make a plan to pay it off by making more than the minimum payment each month and slowly making progress toward becoming debt-free.”

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