What the Q3 delinquency rates mean for the US economy

In the third quarter of 2023, the United States witnessed a noticeable increase in delinquency rates across various sectors, reflecting broader economic challenges. This article delves into the details of these rising delinquency rates, analyzing their implications and underlying causes.

Mortgage Delinquencies

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s National Delinquency Survey, the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties climbed to 3.62% of all loans outstanding by the end of Q3 2023. This rate is seasonally adjusted and suggests a growing number of homeowners struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments.

Further dissecting mortgage delinquencies, the 30-day delinquency rate rose 28 basis points to 2.03%, while the 60-day rate increased by seven basis points to 0.62%. Interestingly, there was a decrease in the 90-day delinquency bucket, indicating a complex pattern in how mortgage delinquencies are evolving.

Commercial and Multifamily Mortgage Delinquencies

Not limited to residential properties, delinquency rates for mortgages backed by commercial and multifamily properties also saw an increase in the third quarter of 2023. This rise, as reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest commercial real estate finance (CREF) Loan Performance Survey, signals broader issues in the real estate sector beyond residential mortgages.

Overall Household Debt and Credit Card Delinquencies

In the broader scope of household debt, the total reached a staggering $17.29 trillion in Q3 2023. Of this, there was a significant increase in the aggregate delinquency rates, with 3% of all outstanding debt being in some stage of delinquency by the end of September. The flow into serious delinquency (90 days or more delinquent) for mortgage debt increased from 0.50% in Q3 2022 to 0.72% in Q3 2023.

In particular, credit card balances experienced significant growth, with an increase of $48 billion in the third quarter. This marked the eighth consecutive quarter of growth in credit card balances, reflecting a trend of increasing reliance on credit card debt by consumers.

Implications and Underlying Causes

The rising delinquency rates across multiple sectors are indicative of broader economic challenges faced by U.S. households. Factors such as inflation, interest rate hikes, and economic uncertainties could be contributing to this situation. The increase in mortgage delinquencies could be linked to rising housing costs and the financial strains on homeowners. Similarly, the growth in credit card debt suggests that more consumers are relying on credit to manage their expenses, possibly due to increased living costs.

The increase in commercial and multifamily property delinquencies also points to potential stress in the real estate market, which may be experiencing the ripple effects of broader economic issues.


The third quarter of 2023 paints a concerning picture of the financial health of U.S. households and the real estate sector. With rising delinquency rates in residential mortgages, commercial real estate loans, and credit card debts, there are clear signs of financial stress. These trends necessitate close monitoring and may call for policy interventions to address the underlying economic challenges and to support those who are struggling to meet their debt obligations.

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