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  • Writer's pictureStephen Boatman

Mortgage, Auto, and Credit Card Delinquency Rates

Updated: Jan 22

I've seen a lot of articles about increasing missed payments regarding car loans, mortgage payments, and credit cards. But what does the data say when you step back into a 5-year vs. 6-month time frame? You'll notice in the three charts below that delinquency rates for credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages have been increasing. However, we are coming out of a period of unprecedented economic stimulus. But there's more behind the data than what first meets the eye.


Credit Card Payments


This is often the first missed payment, especially around the holidays when expenses rise, and cash flow decreases at home. Below you can see credit card missed payments are increasing which likely means holiday spending is above what is affordable and that cash is feeling a little tight at home. This will likely apply downward pressure on unnecessary expenses, but time will tell.


US Credit card accounts delinquent by 90 or more days

Auto Loan Payments


Auto loan delinquencies have increased since the historic low in Q4 of 2022. And based on the chart below, things aren't that bad in the auto loan world. However, this chart doesn't show the number of people underwater on their vehicles. If we could see that, I believe it would be a drastic uptick compared to the past five years. This is because vehicles increased in price drastically during 2021-2023. However, vehicle prices are returning to reality, and if you purchased a car in the 2021-2023 time frame, like me, you may have experienced more depreciation than is historically normal. Going forward I would expect more maintenance on current cars instead of upgrading or swapping.


US Auto Loan delinquents by 90 or more days

Mortgage Payments


The mortgage story is similar to the auto loan story. There was a historic low in missed payments in Q4 2022, and 90-day delinquent payments have increased since then. Although homes have yet to fall in price, like cars, they have become increasingly less liquid. This means the number of people who are house-poor has increased dramatically. If you purchased a home in the past three years, where interest rates have been rising on top of a run-up in home prices, you may be facing a few years before you can sell your home and net much of a profit after 6% in real estate agent fees come off the top. Most people are opting to rent their homes vs. sell when they move, if they can afford it.


US Mortgages delinquent by 90 or more days

Summary


Most of the population's two most significant assets, homes and cars, are becoming harder to sell. This means that with turnover decreasing, the industries that make money buying and selling houses and cars (dealerships, real estate agents, mortgage brokers, and banks) will likely have less income than in the past three years. Cash is tightening at home around the US, and we are not in a cheap money environment anymore. The elephant in the room is what the Fed does with rates and money printing. I believe we need them to maintain rates around where they are now and not inject too much more cash into the economy. It's some medicine we need after the rampant spending we've run through over the past few years, and if we don't want to inflate our dollar away to nothing, it's what the level heads at the Fed will consider. Stay informed for smarter financial decisions with Flat Fee Financial.






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