Pete Wargent blogspot

CEO AllenWargent Property Buyers, & WargentAdvisory (institutional). 6 x finance author.

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Monday, 1 May 2017

Credit cards being used a bit more


Lots of talk from surveys about who is or isn't under mortgage stress this week.

The Reserve Bank's financial indicators showed financial stress has declined for highly indebted 2002 cohorts as interest rates have been dropped sharply. 

The RBA noted from the HILDA surveys that:

"There was a broad-based decline in the share of households experiencing episodes of financial stress between 2001 and 2015".

However, highly indebted households and more recent mortgagees may be finding life somewhat tougher lately.

The RBA Governor will present a speech on household debt on Thursday, so it will be interesting to see how this issue is being viewed from Martin Place. 

Credit card stats

Here I'll take a 30-second look at the latest credit card statistics from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which show that credit card balances accruing interest have increased marginally to $33 billion, but remain well below the $37 billion seen in 2012. 

Year-on-year credit card balances remain down by 2 per cent, having now spent more than four years in negative territory.

The proportion of credit card limits used has bounced moderately from a multi-year low to 35 per cent.

And the average credit card balance also moved up to $1,973, but still remains 20 per cent below the 2012 peak.

The wrap

Overall, there is a case to be made here for rising mortgage rates causing a little more financial stress lately.

My sense is that cohorts that were already in the housing market a decade ago are generally finding life to be a breeze at the moment (provided that they remain gainfully employed). 

Perhaps some deleveraging needs to take place for more recent entrants to the housing market, however.