The recent Survey of Consumer Expectations Credit Access from the New York Fed has revealed a notable decline in the rate of consumer credit applications, with only 41.2% applying for new credit lines. The data specifically highlighted a decrease in applications for auto loans and mortgages, while credit card applications saw an increase to 29%.
This shift comes on the heels of a report earlier this month that showed household credit card debt surged to $1.08 trillion in Q3, reflecting robust consumer spending within a strong economy. Despite this economic vigor, the Federal Reserve’s strategy to combat high inflation with interest rate hikes has led to increased borrowing costs, which have particularly impacted the housing market.
The survey also indicated that consumers are less optimistic about their chances of securing new credit in the future. This sentiment likely stems from the tighter lending conditions and higher interest rates that are making it more expensive for consumers to borrow.
These developments suggest that while consumer spending remains strong, there is growing caution about taking on new debt as borrowing becomes more costly. The rise in credit card usage may point to consumers turning more to revolving credit lines as other borrowing options become less attractive or accessible due to the higher interest rates.