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Defaults on the Downward Slope

On Tuesday, S&P Dow Jones Indices and Experian released its S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices, a measure of changes in consumer credit defaults. The comprehensive April 2017 Indices dropped four basis points from the previous month to 0.90 percent.

While the bank card Index increased by four basis points, to 3.35 percent, auto loan defaults and first mortgage defaults decreased. Auto loan defaults fell 10 basis points to 0.90 percent, while first mortgages saw a default rate drop of six basis points from March, down to 0.69 percent, the same level as April 2016.

"Default rates on first mortgages are steady as home prices continue to rise in most parts of the country and sales of both new and existing homes increase,” said David M. Blitzer, Managing Director & Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. “The [Federal Reserve's quarterly survey of senior bank loan officers] reported little change in either demand for mortgage loans or mortgage lending standards. The level of outstanding mortgage debt bottomed in the second quarter of 2014 and has been increasing steadily since then. After almost three years, outstanding mortgage debt is 9 percent below the peak seen in the first quarter of 2008. Some analysts question if continuing increases in home prices presage a new housing bubble. Given conditions in the mortgage markets, this is not a current concern."

Defaults on second mortgages fell as well, from 0.57 to 0.51 month-over-month. This is a 7-basis point drop from April of 2016.

On a regional level, four of the five major cities covered by the index experienced a decrease in default rates in April. Chicago saw the largest decrease, falling 11 basis points to 0.94 percent from March. In Dallas and Miami, defaults fell by 10 basis points to 069 percent and 1.30 percent, respectively. The only city to report an increase in the default rate was New York, up one basis point in March to 1.10 percent.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a contributing writer for DS News. He is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing, and has studied abroad in Athens, Greece. An East Texas native, he also works part-time as a photographer.

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