Consumer debt rising, but not as fast for mortgage loans

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While consumer debt is growing overall, borrowers are exhibiting more caution when it comes to mortgage loans.

Consumers are expected to generate a collective $4 trillion in overall debt by the end of the year and currently owe more than 26% of their income to nonhousing debt, which is up from 22% in 2010, according to LendingTree. Still, consumer lending patterns indicate mortgage borrowers, specifically, are more responsible.

When comparing mortgage debt to other types of debt, things like auto loan or credit card debt are growing at a pace of about 7% annually, compared to just over 2% for housing-related debt.

The trend of better mortgage borrowing habits is also reflected in the falling loan delinquency rate for mortgage borrowers, which has been dropping for 19 consecutive quarters, according to TransUnion. The serious delinquency rate for mortgage borrowers fell from 2.07% to 1.76% year-over-year in the first quarter.

Though people have exhibited more conservative attitudes toward mortgage lending since the housing bubble burst, consumer debt overall has been growing since 2013. The economy has been getting stronger though, prompting wages and income to rise. This will hopefully help consumers better manage and pay down their debt.

Consumers seem relatively confident toward servicing their debts, reporting there is only about a 10.72% chance on average that they miss a loan payment in the next three months, according to the Federal Reserve's May Survey of Consumer Expectations. This marks an all-time low for the survey since tracking began in 2013.

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