Subprime auto loans face mounting problems: With $1.1 trillion in loans outstanding we all know bad deals are made in good times.
Exuberance breeds bad decisions as inhibitions and due diligence get tossed out the window like dirty water. This is exactly what is unfolding in the rampaging auto market. The latest data from Fitch Auto ABS Indices shows that 60+ day delinquencies for subprime loans are now at 5 percent of all outstanding balances. This is the highest it has been since 2008 when the financial crisis was wrecking havoc on global markets. The issue we have today is that auto loan standards are deep in the toilet. Essentially what happened in the housing market with no-doc and no-income loans is happening with the auto sector. Part of this has to do with the pressure being seen in the industry since new cars are simply built much better and can last a long time. So dealers hustle out late model used cars which eat into new car sales. So incentives are the name of the game and when incentives end you simply start giving out loans to anyone with a pulse.
The runaway cost to attend college just continues to sprint ahead. The average student loan balance for graduating seniors is now $40,000. This is astronomical considering the per capita wage of Americans is in the high $20,000 range. The math behind this astronomical debt is rather clear and simple to follow. Student debt is one of those categories where your ability to pay said debt back is completely devoid from reality. For example, you can go into one hundred thousand dollars of debt for a degree in art that has little earnings potential in the market. Is that wise? Depends on who you ask but you can’t walk into a car dealership and purchase a $50,000 car without some financial backing and ability to pay it back. This applies to most things but the way we fund college is somewhat dysfunctional.
There is a massive student loan epidemic in the United States. Over $1.4 trillion in student debt is floating around in our economy lingering like an albatross on the necks of many young students. While the idea of getting a college degree is more popular today than ever, it would seem like going to spring break is also very popular. It is hard to track how students spend their student loans. Obviously most (if not all) goes to pay for college for the vast majority of students. But some use student loans to finance unnecessary items like partying it up on spring break and getting inebriated to celebrate a semester well done. A new LendEDU poll found that roughly one-third of college students used a part of their student loans to finance their spring break. While this is not the bulk of young college going Americans, the number is somewhat startling. Priorities folks!
The American economy has slowly compressed the middle class into a minority group. When the manufacturing sector slowly eroded away, waiting in the wings to replace those higher paying jobs was low wage service sector employment. Now as it turns out the top 10 largest occupations in the United States are occupied by low wage service sector fields. Contrast this to the last generation where many of the top largest occupations paid a wage that was enough to propel someone into the middle class. Out of the top 10 occupations, there is only one job that pays a higher wage and this requires a college degree and specialized training.
Americans now hold an incredible $4.1 trillion in consumer debt. This latest data shows that Americans are now back to having an insatiable appetite for spending beyond their means. Unlike mortgage debt, consumer debt is not building up any future equity here. The largest category of consumer debt is student loan debt. Even at the peak of the last debt bubble, consumer debt totaled roughly $2.5 trillion. While student debt makes up about $1.4 trillion of the consumer debt here, auto debt is above $1 trillion. We’ve also seen a large rise in subprime auto debt suggesting that people are borrowing beyond their means to consume. Delinquencies are also rising suggesting any tiny slip up in the overall economy and this credit bubble can burst too.
Housing affordability shows that most Americans are too broke to buy a home: The American Dream moves further out of reach.
More Americans are finding it harder to afford a home. In fact, a closely followed housing affordability index is now back to where it was in 2008. Not exactly a prime time for buying homes. Most Americans are too broke to afford a home. Which is somewhat contrary to the narrative that is pumped out via pro housing propaganda. Buying a home is always a good deal! Real estate never falls! Only fools rent! So goes the story about buying real estate. Yet given current prices, many families find the dream of owning a home more of a far flung aspiration than a reasonable financial reality. We can see this trend unfolding with the vast number of new renter households over the last decade. Younger Americans are saddled with mountains of student debt and many are making lower wages. Taking on a large mortgage simply isn’t appealing or feasible when an albatross of debt is already being carried.
The manufacturing base has completely eroded in this country and one chart dramatically highlights this (shown later in the article). It is deeply disturbing that we now have as many people working in restaurants as waiters and bartenders as we do in manufacturing. This of course is for good reason given that you can’t export (yet) the ability to order a meal and have a stiff drink served to you to drown away your economic sorrows. As a nation we have enjoyed spending on a lax credit card for an entire generation. And now that money is coming back rushing in buying up real estate, studios, hotels, franchises, and everything else you can imagine. For every debt there is a collector. That is basic accounting (assets and liabilities). In a simplified equation you want to have more assets and fewer liabilities. However when you look at our export and import data, a troubling picture emerges.