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Mortgages Lead Consumer Debt Increases in Q3

debtsIt appears more Americans are confident about the overall state of the economy and are taking out more loans, and mortgages play an enormous role in this increase.

In each of the nation's 25 largest cities, consumers took on more debt in the third quarter of 2015 compared to last year during the same time period. This boost in borrowing and lending reversed the trend of falling consumer debt that occurred for several years.

Equifax's National Consumer Credit Trends Report released Wednesday shows that total consumer debt tipped over the $10 trillion mark to $10.15 trillion in the third quarter. This number is 2.43 percent higher than the $9.91 trillion worth of consumer debt reached in the third quarter of 2014, which is double the increase from 2013 to 2014.

"The trend in the market indicates consumers appear more confident in the economy and are moving forward with their lives and borrowing money again," said Assad Lazarus, SVP, Product and Customer Experience at Equifax Personal Information Solutions.

"Overall, the data paints an encouraging picture of the American consumer and the U.S. economy," Lazarus noted.

The data showed that the improving mortgage market plays the largest role in the total amount of consumer debt in the U.S.  In the third quarter of 2015, mortgage debt balances declined in New York City , New York; Cleveland, Ohio; and Miami, Florida, while during the same time last year, mortgage balances fell in many more cities.

In addition, non-mortgage debt continues to grow in a number of major U.S. cities, Equifax stated. The report showed that nine cities experienced double-digit increases in non-mortgage debt compared to a year ago. Orlando, Florida had the largest increase in non-mortgage debt at 13.9 percent and Miami, Florida followed at 13.2 percent.

The smallest amount of non-mortgage growth came from Detroit, Michigan at 4.9 percent, Equifax says. Detroit, Michigan and Minneapolis, Minnesota were the only two cities to experience a lower rate of year-over-year growth in non-mortgage debt in the third quarter of 2015 compared to 2014.

Equifax reported in the first quarter of 2015 that 19 of the nation's largest 25 cities showed drops in consumer debt compared to last yea, indicating a drop off in borrowing among consumers. However, in the recent third quarter report, Equifax found that all major metros experienced gains in total consumer debt.

Among those cities, Houston, Texas (7.4 percent), Denver, Colorado (5.4 percent), and Orlando, Florida (3.8 percent) posted the largest increases in consumer debt.

Click here to view the full report.

About Author: Xhevrije West

Xhevrije West is a writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas. She has worked for a number of publications including The Syracuse New Times, Dallas Flow Magazine, and Bellwethr Magazine. She completed her Bachelors at Alcorn State University and went on to complete her Masters at Syracuse University.
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