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Reno Business News: Debt in Nevada averaged $51,230 per person at the end of last year

By John Seelmeyer

Consumers in Nevada are spending more these days, and they’re taking on debt much more rapidly than consumers elsewhere in the nation.

Data released recently by the New York Fed found consumer debt in Nevada averaged $51,230 per person at the end of last year. 

That’s an increase of 4.3 percent over the debt Nevada consumers held at the end of 2018. Nationally, consumer debt rose 1.4 percent last year to an average of $51,740 per person.

Taxable retail sales statewide are running about 6 percent ahead of year-earlier figures, close to national averages. Washoe County’s retail sales showed an annual increase of about 8 percent in the most recent report. 

Credit-card debt in Nevada averaged $1,140 a person at the end of last year, compared with $1,430 nationwide.

Although home prices in Nevada have risen sharply — 12 percent in the last year in Reno-Sparks, for instance — mortgages don’t account for an unusually large amount of consumers’ debt in the state.  The New York Fed said mortgage debt totaled $35,290 per capita in Nevada at the end of last year, slightly more than the $34,950 percent nationwide.  

In California, by comparison, mortgage debt totaled $56,570 per person in 2019.

Compared with consumers nationwide, the debt of Nevada consumers is slightly higher in auto loans — $5,420 per person, compared with a U.S. average of $4,870 percent.  And student loan debt in Nevada is slightly lower than the rest of the nation — $4,380 per person compared with $5,520 nationwide. 

The New York Fed didn’t break out county-by-county figures on consumer debt, so comparisons of consumer debt in Reno and Las Vegas aren’t possible.

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– Compiled by Darcy Lenardson