Total Consumer Debt Fell In Third Quarter, as Americans Remained Cautious
Houston, Pittsburgh and Dallas bucked the trend with consumer debt increases
ATLANTA, Nov. 8, 2012
ATLANTA, Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Across the country, consumers remain
cautious about taking on new debt. Overall consumer debt levels fell $256
billion in the third quarter versus the same period a year ago, according to
new Credit Trends data released by Equifax (NYSE: EFX). However, the 2.28
percent year-over-year decline is the slowest rate of decline since the second
quarter of 2009, showing that some of the caution may be starting to lift.
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U.S. consumers currently owe $11 trillion across all types of debt, with
mortgage debt accounting for a little more than three-quarters of that amount.
Mortgage debt fell 3.4 percent in the third quarter, compared to the same
period a year ago. Non-mortgage consumer debt actually increased 0.7 percent.
The consumer debt trends look different for different parts of the country.
Among the largest 25 metro areas, total consumer debt continued to decline in
all but three markets versus the same time a year ago. In
Houston-Galveston-Brazoria, debt climbed 1.37 percent. In Pittsburgh, it
increased 1.05 percent. And in Dallas-Fort Worth, debt grew 0.08 percent. The
markets where debt declined at the fastest rates are also some of the areas
hit hardest by the housing bust and the recession. The largest declines in
consumer debt were in the Las Vegas, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Sacramento-Yolo
and Phoenix-Mesa markets.
"Different parts of the country are at different stages of economic recovery,
and that is reflected in how consumers feel about taking on more debt," said
Trey Loughran, president of the Personal Solutions unit at Equifax. "We
continue to see debt declining significantly in certain markets, including
those in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, where the housing bust was
particularly severe. The high number of foreclosures means many consumers
have reduced their debt involuntarily. Also, consumers who are current on
their debt are being more disciplined in taking on new obligations and in how
they manage the credit they already have."
While debt levels for mortgages fell in all top 25 markets, the declines were
much more severe in Las Vegas (9.6 percent), Miami-Fort Lauderdale (8.8
percent) and Phoenix-Mesa (7.6 percent) than in Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (.1
percent) and Dallas-Fort Worth (1.4 percent). Houston and Dallas had the
smallest decreases in mortgage debt among top 25 markets.
On the flip side, consumers are again taking on debt when it comes to their
vehicles. Across the country, auto bank and auto finance debt rose 7.1
percent, compared with the same year ago. Again, the
Houston-Galveston-Brazoria consumers seem the most confident, with 10.3
percent more auto debt than a year ago, the largest increase among the top 25
metro areas. Minneapolis-St. Paul had the second biggest increase, at 9.9
percent, while Dallas-Fort Worth came in third at 8.8 percent.
"Generally speaking, consumers are showing discipline and caution about debt
coming out of the recession," said Loughran. "Even though people are taking on
debt to get new automobiles, we also know they are driving their cars longer.
We expect the trend of the 'disciplined consumer' to continue for some time."
Total Consumer Debt for Top 25 MSAs
Top 25 Metropolitan Statistical Q3, 2011 Q3, 2012 %
(previous quarter) (current quarter) Change
1 New York-Northern New $972,187,508,701 $950,390,476,272 -2.24%
Jersey-Long Island NY-NJ-CT-PA
2 Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange $923,127,154,330 $876,777,948,629 -5.02%
3 Chicago-Gary-Kenosha IL-IN-WI $392,986,974,643 $378,252,827,889 -3.75%
4 Washington-Baltimore $551,738,963,896 $542,886,249,132 -1.60%
5 San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose $542,008,298,176 $514,977,489,737 -4.99%
6 Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic $264,345,717,521 $260,334,975,040 -1.52%
7 Dallas-Fort Worth TX $195,640,515,315 $195,793,941,926 0.08%
8 Boston-Worcester-Lawrence $291,881,336,095 $284,989,371,789 -2.36%
9 Houston-Galveston-Brazoria TX $164,752,492,898 $167,013,317,770 1.37%
10 Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint MI $167,823,978,056 $161,806,190,287 -3.59%
11 Atlanta GA $216,711,371,051 $208,804,249,046 -3.65%
12 Miami-Fort Lauderdale FL $175,855,538,010 $163,918,607,735 -6.79%
13 Phoenix-Mesa AZ $174,665,597,362 $164,331,381,275 -5.92%
14 Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton WA $236,059,460,797 $229,060,353,233 -2.96%
15 Minneapolis-St. Paul MN-WI $157,792,309,716 $154,697,245,196 -1.96%
16 San Diego CA $186,600,696,577 $178,533,592,078 -4.32%
17 Denver-Boulder-Greeley CO $152,984,054,657 $149,338,147,626 -2.38%
18 Cleveland-Akron OH $86,930,895,998 $85,502,702,476 -1.64%
19 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater $98,748,398,631 $94,740,985,812 -4.06%
20 St. Louis MO-IL $93,231,479,172 $92,026,532,171 -1.29%
21 Portland-Salem OR-WA $119,846,270,373 $115,273,761,936 -3.82%
22 Pittsburgh PA $62,759,665,221 $63,416,402,792 1.05%
23 Las Vegas NV-AZ $82,772,429,569 $76,430,581,256 -7.66%
24 Sacramento-Yolo CA $106,298,312,866 $99,803,116,769 -6.11%
25 Orlando FL $81,416,604,367 $77,311,738,464 -5.04%
26 All Other Areas $4,733,908,057,312 $4,690,970,988,076 -0.91%
Grand Totals $11,233,074,081,310 $10,977,383,174,412 -2.28%
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to be their financial best. Find out more about Equifax's innovative suite of
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information, please visit www.equifax.com.
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