American consumers continue to shed debt, and Atlantans are part of the trend.
Total debt carried by consumers in metro Atlanta fell 3.65 percent in the third quarter of this year compared to the third quarter in 2011, according to Equifax. Total debt here was almost $209 billion in the quarter, down from about $217 billion a year before.
Nationwide, consumer debt fell 2.28 percent. That’s the slowest rate of decline since the second quarter of 2009, a possible sign that consumer caution is easing.
Three of the top 25 markets saw total debt levels increase: Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and Pittsburgh. The largest declines in debt levels occurred in areas hardest hit by the housing bust, including Las Vegas, Miami and Phoenix.
Mortgage debt, which accounts for about three-quarters of the $11 trillion owed by Americans, fell 3.4 percent, while non-mortgage debt rose 0.7 percent.
“Different parts of the country are at different stages of economic recovery, and that is reflected in how consumers feel about taking on more debt,” said Trey Loughran, of Equifax.