Consumer debt decline driven by mortgage discharges

Overall consumer debt fell in the first quarter compared to the same period a year ago, though the sharp declines in some markets in 2012 have leveled off, indicating a stabilizing economy, according to a report from Equifax.

Consumer debt decreased from $11.02 trillion in first-quarter 2012 to $10.92 trillion last quarter. Mortgage debt write-offs and borrowers paying down mortgages lead the decline, with total mortgage and home equity debt obligations falling 3.1 percent year over year to $8.4 trillion. By contrast, total nonmortgage debt rose 7.1 percent to $2.5 trillion.

Source: Equifax