Bucking a national trend, Tampa Bay, Miami and Orlando all posted a drop in overall consumer debt last year, according to a report from the consumer credit crunchers at Equifax.
In fact, those metro areas, along with Las Vegas, were the only four among the top 25 where debt did not rise.
But Equifax cautions that the decrease in consumer debt was not due to an outbreak of frugal Floridians, but rather "likely" tied to the loss of mortgages in the foreclosure-heavy, renter-growing markets. "Non-mortgage debt actually increased in those areas as consumers gained confidence in taking on additional debt," Equifax said, describing it as a positive development.
Overall debt fell by 3 percent in Miami-Fort Lauderdale, and less than half a percent in both Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater. Of the three, the rise in credit card debt was steepest in Miami-Fort Lauderdale: up just over 3 percent.
The news comes on the heels of a chamber-loving report identifying Tampa as the third-best city for finding a job this year.