So far, all indications are that consumers will continue to shun debt.
Over the past three years, American consumers have steadily reduced their debt.
When people fear for their jobs, or don’t have jobs, or enough employment, they’re unlikely to spend, including on housing.
Lenders have dramatically raised standards over the past four years in response to the housing crash.
In housing, consumers have already shown a lackluster response to low rates. Applications for new mortgages have slowed this year to a 10-year low, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. Sales of furniture and furnishings remain 22 percent below their prerecession peak, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse, a research service.
Credit card rates have actually gone up slightly in the last year. The one bright spot in lending is the number of auto loans, which is up from last year. But some economists say that confidence among car buyers is hitting new lows.