Auto finance defaults ticked up slightly in November, but the rate still remained below 1 percent, according to the most recent data compiled by S&P Dow Jones Indices and Experian.
The auto finance segment of the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices increased 1 basis point to 0.93 percent, but the reading stayed below that 1-percent mark for the eighth month in a row.
Also, the November 2018 reading is much better than the one 12 months earlier as analysts pegged the November 2017 figure at 1.11 percent.
Turning back to the latest information, analysts indicated the composite rate — which represents a comprehensive measure of changes in consumer credit defaults — also edged 1 basis point higher in November to 0.83 percent.
The bank card default rate was unchanged at 3.09 percent.
The first mortgage default rate was 1 basis point higher at 0.64 percent.
Looking at the latest data by market size, S&P and Experian found that two of the largest cities posted higher default rates in November.
The rate for Miami increased 7 basis points to 1.52 percent, while the rate for Dallas rose 5 basis points to 0.82 percent.
The default rate for Chicago remained stable at 0.84 percent.
The other two cities that analysts track each month showed lower default rates.
The rate for Los Angeles slid 6 basis points to 0.50 percent, while the reading for New York declined 1 basis point to 0.83 percent.
In November, analysts pointed out all loan types showed a default rate within 1 basis point of the prior month. They explained this stabilization coincides with lower default levels, with each of bank cards, autos and first mortgages reaching their lowest levels of 2018 within the past three months.
“Consumer credit default rates across all sectors are stable at low levels,” said David Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
“Two factors supporting the favorable picture are gradual wage increases of about a 4 percent annual rate combined with inflation at 2 percent,” Blitzer continued. “Growth in retail sales at 2.5 percent annual is not putting upward pressure on bank card defaults while flat to lower auto sales have little impact on auto loan defaults.
“Despite home prices rising faster than inflation or wages, mortgage defaults remain steady while home sales drop,” he added.
Blitzer also offered some forward-looking thoughts before 2018 closed.
“Looking ahead, stable default rates will depend on personal incomes and interest rates,” he said. “Rising interest rates — not just the fed funds rate — are being noticed.
“Credit card loan rates topped 14 percent in the third quarter, up more than a percentage point from the 2017 third quarter,” Blitzer continued while adding that, “30-year fixed rate mortgages are approaching 5 percent, up a full percentage point in the past year. The rate for a four-year auto loan is 5 percent after a small increase of a quarter point over 12 months.
“As long as wages outpace inflation and interest rates, the currently low ratio of consumer debt service to income should continue,” he went on to say.
Jointly developed by S&P Indices and Experian, analysts noted the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices are published monthly with the intent to accurately track the default experience of consumer balances in four key loan categories: auto, bankcard, first mortgage lien and second mortgage lien.
The indices are calculated based on data extracted from Experian’s consumer credit database. This database is populated with individual consumer loan and payment data submitted by lenders to Experian every month.
Experian’s base of data contributors includes leading banks and mortgage companies and covers approximately $11 trillion in outstanding loans sourced from 11,500 lenders.