It seems that American families are getting wise with their debts. Do you know that mortgage debt in the U.S dropped in the last quarter of 2010? This will sound even more striking if you consider that borrowing costs in the U.S increased in that quarter. According to the Federal Reserve, mortgage debt in the U.S stands at $11.4 trillion. It has reduced by 1.3% or $155 billion from the third quarter of 2010. Quite clearly, U.S consumers are trying to get their secured debts under control.
The Federal Reserve points out that Americans have reduced more than a trillion dollars in mortgage debt since 2008 when mortgage debt peaked. The Federal Reserve states that delinquency rates are falling consistently in the U.S. It is true that some states like Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California still have pretty high foreclosure and delinquency rates. But the rates are dropping fast in these states too. Due to high unemployment rate (8.5% as per the latest data from the Labor Department) the U.S households have been struggling with their finances.
Therefore, consumers are focusing more on eliminating their debt than on spending. Consequently, household debts are gradually dipping. However, less consumer spending is halting economic growth. But the Federal Reserve hopes that consumers will start borrowing again once their financial situation becomes stable.
This can be tricky. President Obama has warned that the U.S needs economic growth, but it should not be solely based on consumer spending. In the process of rebuilding the U.S economy, we should give sufficient time to debtors and the banks. Once the debtors get back their financial stability and the banks are done with their adjustments, borrowing will increase without affecting the financial health of the consumers.