Channel | Auto Industry News

Auto Loan Default Rate Falls to Eight-Year Low

NEW YORK — The default rate for auto loans fell to its lowest level in eight years last month, according to the S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices.

Default rates for all loan types except bank cards fell for the fourth consecutive month, reaching their lowest levels since at least the end of the recent economic crisis. The national composite declined to 1.86 percent in April from its 1.96 percent March rate.

The rate of default for auto loans fell from 1.11 percent in March to 1.07 percent last month. The first mortgage default rate decreased from March’s 1.88 percent to April’s 1.76 percent, while the second mortgage default rate also declined from 1.03 percent in March to 0.93 percent. The default rate for bank cards increased marginally in April to 4.49 percent from its 4.47 percent March level.

“April data show the continuation of the positive trend we saw in the first quarter of 2012,” said David M. Blitzer, managing director and chairman of the Index Committee for S&P Indices. “Not only have we continued the general downward trend in consumer default rates that began in the spring of 2009, but we appear to be reaching new lows across many of the loan types.”

The first mortgage default rate fell by 12 basis points in April over March and is the lowest rate since July 2007. The second mortgage rate also fell during the month by 10 basis points, and is at a seven-plus year low. The auto loans default rate hit the lowest rate in the history of this data tracking. While the bank card rate rose, it was not by much and is still close to the recent low reported in February.

Four of the five cities the indices cover saw their default rates drop, with all four at post-recession lows. For the fourth consecutive month, Chicago saw a decline, moving from 2.84 percent back in December 2011 to 2.21 percent in April. That’s a 0.63 percentage point decline and a new low.

New York and Miami both fell for the third consecutive month. New York dropped almost a quarter percentage point over the month from 2.01 percent in March to 1.78 percent, while Miami decreased by almost a half a percentage point from March’s 3.62 percent to April’s 3.14 percent.

“While still the highest default rate, Miami hit a post-recession low,” said Blitzer. “Dallas hits its lowest rate in its eight years of history, moving from 1.44 percent in March to 1.25 percent in April and retains the lowest rate among the five cities we follow. Los Angeles is the only city where default rates remained flat at 1.88 percent.”

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