5 Jun 2009

Under-30s now more wary of debt, agency says

9:41 pm on 5 June 2009

New figures suggest people are curbing their appetite for debt - and the biggest change in behaviour is among those aged under 30.

Veda Advantage, a major credit reporting agency, says applications for credit cards, hire purchase and cash loans are all down sharply compared with a year ago.

But the trend is even more pronounced for the so-called Generation Y, those born between 1981 to 1994.

The statistics focused on three groups: baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), the so-called Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) and Gen Y.

Veda says an example of how people reining back is credit card applications, which are down by just under 22% on a year ago.

Baby boomers are following that trend - as a group, they are down 18%, while the Gen X group are down 16%.

But Gen Y - typically is portrayed as having little reluctance in taking on debt - is even more wary of credit cards, slashing their applications by 25%.

It is the same picture in hire purchase - down just over a quarter overall, but down 39% when it comes to people aged under 30.

Hire purchases by baby boomers were down 33%, while the Gen X group was down 30%.

The only area where credit applications are up in the past year is in mortgages, rising by just under 3% overall.

Baby boomers are still keen players in the property market, with a rise of 6.8% in their mortgage applications, while Gen X were less enthusiastic, recording only a 0.23% increase.

Gen Y by comparison is steering clear, with mortgage applications down by 5.2% compared with a year earlier.

Veda Advantage believes the downside of debt - when people end up defaulting - is also pointing to a new conservatism amongst the youngest.

The number of defaults by baby boomers rose by 2% on a year ago. But Gen Y has actually managed to reduce defaults by just over 9%, while Gen X reduced the defaults by just over 5%.