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Skyrocketing Consumer Debt & Falling Rates
With home mortgages, the primary collateral for the loan balance is the home itself. In the event of a future default, the lender can file a foreclosure notice and take the property back several months later. With automobile loans, the car dealership or current lender servicing the loan can repossess the car.


Homeowners often refinance their non-deductible consumer debt that generally have shorter terms, much higher interest rates, and no tax benefits most often into newer cash-out refinance mortgage loans that reduce their monthly debt obligations. While this can be wise for many property owners, it may be a bit risky for other property owners if they leverage their homes too much.

With credit cards, lenders don’t have any real collateral to protect their financial interests, which is why the interest rates can easily be double-digits about 10%, 20%, or 30% in annual rates and fees, regardless of any national usury laws that were meant to protect borrowers from being charged “unnecessarily and unfairly high rates and fees” as usury laws were originally designed to do when first drafted.

Zero Hedge has reported that 50% of Americans don’t have access to even $400 cash for an emergency situation. Some tenants pay upwards of 50% to 60% of their income on rent. A past 2017 study by Northwestern Mutual noted the following details in regard to the lack of cash and high credit card balances for upwards of 50% of young and older Americans today:

* 50% of Baby Boomers have basically no retirement savings.

* 50% of Americans (excluding mortgage balances) have outstanding debt balances (credit cards, etc.) of more than $25,000. 

* The average American with debt has credit card balances of $37,000, and an annual income of just $30,000. 

* Over 45% of consumers spend up to 50% of their monthly income on debt repayments that are typically near minimum monthly payments.

 

Rising Global Debt 

 

According to a report released by IIF (Institute of International Finance) Global Debt Monitor, debt rose to a whopping $246 trillion in the 1st quarter of 2019. In just the first three months of 2019, global debt increased by a staggering $3 trillion dollar amount. The rate of global debt far outpaced the rate of economic growth in the same first quarter of 2019 as the total debt/GDP (Gross Domestic Product) ratio rose to 320%.

The same IIF Global Debt Monitor report for Q1 2019 noted that the debt by sector as a percentage of GDP as follows:

  
Households: 59.8%

* Non-financial corporates: 91.4%

* Government: 87.2%

* Financial corporates: 80.8%

 


Rate Cuts and Negative Yields

As of 2019, there’s reportedly an estimated $13.64 trillion dollars worldwide that generates negative yields or returns for the investors who hold government or corporate bonds. This same $13.64 trillion dollar number represents approximately 25% of all sovereign or corporate bond debt worldwide. 

 

On July 31, 2019, the Federal Reserve announced that they cut short-term rates 0.25% (a quarter point). Their new target range for its overnight lending rate is now somewhere within the 2% to 2.25% rate range. This is 25 basis points lower than their last Fed meeting decision reached on June 19th. This was the first rate cut since the start of the financial recession (or depression) in almost 11 years ago dating back to December 2008.
 

It’s fairly likely that the Fed will cut rates one or more times in future 2020 meeting dates. If so, short and long-term borrowing costs may move downward and become more affordable for consumers and homeowners. If this happens, then it may be a boost to the housing and financial markets for so long as the economy stabilizes in other sectors as well such as international trade, consumer spending and the retail sector, government deficit spending levels, and other economic factors or trends.

We shall see what happens in the near future in 2020 and beyond.

* The blog article above is a partial excerpt from my previous article entitled Interest Rate and Home Price Swings in the Realty 411 Magazine linked below (pages 87 - 91):
October 21, 2008

Bursting Bubbles!!!

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According to NYU Professor Nouriel Roubini (probably the most accurate U.S. economic forecaster in recent years), he recently was quoted as saying this about the current state of the world's financial system: 

"The rich world's financial system is headed toward a meltdown. Stock markets have been failing most days, money markets and credit markets have shut down as their interest-rate spreads skyrocket, and it is still too early to tell whether the raft of measures adopted by the United States and Europe will stem the bleeding on a sustained basis. 

A generalized run on the banking system has been a source of fear for the first time in seven decades, while the shadow banking system, broker-dealers, nonbank mortgage lenders, structured investment vehicles and conduits, hedge funds, money market funds, and private equity funds are ALL at risk of a run on their short-term liabilities. 

The crisis was caused by the largest leveraged asset bubble and credit bubble in history. Leveraging and bubbles were not limited to the U.S. housing market, but also characterized housing markets in other countries. Moreover, beyond the housing market, excessive borrowing by financial institutions and some segments of the corporate and public sectors occurred in many economies.

As a result, a housing bubble, a mortgage bubble, an equity bubble, a bond bubble, a credit bubble, a commodity bubble, a private equity bubble, and a hedge fund bubble are all now bursting SIMULTANEOUSLY".

Many of us are expecting a combination of hyperinflation in which currency values around the world buy less goods as time goes on (think Argentina in the late '80s and early '90s), and massive asset deflation (think Japan of the past 18 years) where stock, bond, real estate, and other hard assets (except gold, silver, and other valuable precious metals) drop in value dramatically. We need more soap in order to solve our bubble problems!!!

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