Data through February 2015, released recently by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Experian for the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, continued to show a slight upward trend, as the second mortgage default rate increased by two basis points to 0.66 percent. The national composite rate remained flat, reporting a default rate of 1.12 percent in February. The first mortgage default rate decreased for the first time since July 2014, down two basis points to 1.00 percent from the previous month.
The five major cities reported mixed results in February with two cities showing lower default rates. Miami reported a default rate of 1.17 percent, a decrease of 18 basis points, its largest decrease since September 2014. Los Angeles reported a decrease for a second consecutive month at 0.83 percent, down one basis point. Dallas continued its positive trend for the fifth consecutive month with a 1.17 percent default rate, an increase of seven basis points. New York posted its third consecutive increase with a reported rate of 1.14 percent, up 16 basis points from its historic November 2014 low. Chicago also saw its default rate increase to 1.18 percent, an increase of three basis points from the previous month.
“The combination of a strong February employment report and continued low oil prices all point to a buoyant economy with optimistic consumers,” says David M. Blitzer, Managing Director and Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “Mortgage default rates, the largest component in the national index, held steady and prevented a rise in the national numbers. A true test of consumer credit quality and the prospects for future default rates will come in the second half of 2015 by which time the Fed will most likely have begun to raise interest rates. Given current low levels of default rates and low debt service burdens, there are no concerns of a consumer credit crisis any time soon.”
There continues to be a strong desire amongst all of the American public to become homeowners, says Bruce Taylor, president of a real estate firm serving Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island. “Those who are clamoring for rental properties today hope to enter the ranks of homeowners as soon as possible. Slow economic growth and slow growth of wages has hampered the formation of the personal capital that enables individuals to make a down payment, but changes in lending standards are helping.”
For more information, visit www.consumercreditindices.standardandpoors.com.