WASHINGTON – An increasing number of consumers are falling behind on their car payments, a trend that financial analysts fear will continue, given the stress of rising car prices and prolonged inflation. as an indication of the impact it is having on the family budget.
Foreclosures were eased at the start of the pandemic, as Americans got a boost from stimulus checks and lenders became more willing to accommodate defaulters. But in recent months, the number of people who are behind on their car payments has reached pre-pandemic levels, and for low-income consumers, the loan default rate now exceeds the point where it was in 2019. , according to data from the Fitch rating agency.
Industry analysts fear the trend will continue into 2023, as economists forecast rising unemployment, relatively high inflation and declining household savings. At the same time, an increasing number of consumers are having to stretch their budget to purchase a vehicle; The average monthly payment for a new car has risen 26% since 2019 to $718 per month, and nearly one in six new car buyers is spending more than $1,000 per month on a vehicle. Other costs associated with owning a car are also skyrocketing, such as insurance, gas and repairs.
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