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Record Number Of Homebuyers Walk Away From Contracts As Builders Reel Amid Glut Of Unsold Houses

Record Number Of Homebuyers Walk Away From Contracts As Builders Reel Amid Glut Of Unsold Houses

Between cratering homebuilder and homerbuyer…

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Record Number Of Homebuyers Walk Away From Contracts As Builders Reel Amid Glut Of Unsold Houses

Between cratering homebuilder and homerbuyer confidence...

... record low home affordability...

... a record number of new listing with price cuts (amid the collapse in demand).

... plunging housing starts...

... and so on, as the recent surge in mortgage rates has effectively pushed the housing market into a recession, which is now so widespread that 63,000 home-purchase agreements were called off in July, equal to 16% of homes that went under contract that month. According to Redfin, that's the highest percentage on record, and only the brief spike during the covid crash - which the promptly reversed - was worse. It’s up from a revised rate of 15% one month earlier and 12.5% one year earlier.

The housing market is slowing as higher mortgage rates sideline many prospective homebuyers. With competition declining, the house hunters who are still in the market are enjoying newfound bargaining power, a striking contrast from just a few months ago, when buyers often had to pull out every stop in order to win. Today’s buyers are more likely to utilize contract contingencies that allow them to back out without financial penalty if something goes wrong. And with an increasing number of homes to choose from, they’re also more likely to call a deal off if a seller refuses to bring the price down or make requested repairs—a situation that has become increasingly common given that sellers are still adjusting to the cooling market.

“Homes are sitting on the market longer now, so buyers realize they have more options and more room to negotiate. They’re asking for repairs, concessions and contingencies, and if sellers say no, they’re backing out and moving on because they’re confident they can find something better,” said Heather Kruayai, a Redfin real estate agent in Jacksonville, FL. “Buyers are also skittish because they’re afraid a potential recession could cause home prices to drop. They don’t want to end up in a situation where they purchase a home and it’s worth $200,000 less in two years, so some are opting to wait in hopes of buying when prices are lower.”

Alexis Malin, another Redfin agent in Jacksonville, warns that there’s no guarantee buyers will be able to find better deals in the future. Annual home-price growth has started to slow—to 8% today from 17% a year ago—but prices are still on the rise and Redfin economists don’t expect them to crash.

“Some buyers who are backing out of deals have this mindset that the market is crashing and they’ll be able to get a home for $100,000 less in six months. That’s not necessarily the case,” she said. “Homes in many parts of Florida are still selling for a pretty penny, so I warn my buyers that the grass might not actually be greener on the other side.”

Some buyers may also be backing out due to 5%-plus mortgage rates. Those who started their search months ago, when rates were closer to 3%, may be realizing the type of home they wanted before is now out of budget since monthly mortgage payments have soared nearly 40% year over year.

“Home-purchase cancellations may begin to taper off as sellers get used to a slower-paced market,” said Redfin Deputy Chief Economist Taylor Marr. “Sellers have already begun to lower their prices after putting their homes on the market. They’ll likely start pricing their properties lower from the get-go and become increasingly open to negotiations.”

And just to confirm how bad the US housing market is, even the morbidly slow rating agency Fitch Ratings said the likelihood of a severe downturn in US housing has increased (although since rating agencies are never allowed to rock the boat, it said that its rating case scenario provides for a more moderate pullback that includes a mid-single-digit decline in housing activity in 2023, and further pressure in 2024.) Fitch also notes that although it recently affirmed the ratings and Stable Outlooks for our US homebuilder portfolio, "ratings could face pressure under a more pronounced downturn scenario that would likely include housing activity falling roughly 30%, or more, over a multi-year period and 10% to 15% declines in home prices."

* *  *

The biggest losers from the latest housing crash aren't sellers however, but rather homebuilders, who are suddenly finding themselves with a glut of unsold houses.

As Bloomberg notes, with this year’s surge in mortgage rates tossing buyers to the sidelines, the waitlists for new houses are gone  and new-home sellers - such as Kevin Brown, who works just south of Houston, are on the front lines of a massive shift. While Brown used to have back-to-back appointments, buyers now just trickle in to his Saratoga Homes sales office. Meanwhile, he’s got 55 houses under construction and five that are complete, all without deals.

“There’s a bit of pressure on us,” Brown said. “Builders have got to hit goals and make their profit, and they don’t like inventory just sitting on the ground.”

An abrupt halt to the pandemic housing boom has left builders that started construction months ago scrambling to adapt. The US supply of new homes relative to sales in June was the highest since the midst of the last crash in 2010. And by early July, buyer traffic to homebuilder websites and sales offices had plunged to the lowest level for the month since 2012, according to a survey of builder sentiment from the National Association of Home Builders.

New Homes sales signs line a road near Rosharon, Texas/BBG

The new-home pile up underscores a broader shift that’s wreaking havoc in the market. A national housing shortage contributed to years of bidding wars and desperation among buyers who bid up prices to record levels for fear of missing out. But this year’s surge in borrowing costs has now pushed affordability to a breaking point and eased some of the scarcity.

At the same time, the stage is set for longer-term supply constraints as builders pull back. A decade of underbuilding and a bulging population of young people aging into homeownership threatens to prolong the affordability squeeze.

“Despite the fact that there aren’t enough housing units in the country, builders are not willing to take the gamble that’s required to build them,” said Jerry Howard, chief executive officer of the homebuilders group. “They’re afraid that, in a recessionary environment, they won’t be able to sell them.”

In June, 824,000 single-family homes were under construction in the US, more than at any time since October 2006, according to an NAHB analysis of government data. Unsold inventory has ballooned in part because of supply-chain disruptions and labor constraints that created bottlenecks in the production pipeline.

Now, with the economy entering a recession, or already in one, builders are cutting back on starts, trying to avoid having too many completed homes sitting empty. They’re also applying for fewer building permits, which for single-family homes fell in June to a two-year low, according to data from the government.

Not every market is cooling fast. But the change is stark in the pandemic boomtowns where builders piled in to meet demand for out-of-state arrivals, who often bid up prices beyond the reach of locals.

“It has become a very competitive market for builders where they are trying to offload any standing inventory,” said Ali Wolf, chief economist for Zonda, which tracks new-home production. “We may see a period where supply may actually exceed demand for a while in some of the markets that were the most feverish over the past two years.”

Boise, Idaho, is one of those areas where a pandemic bubble is bursting. Remote workers arrived from pricier states such as California, seeking open spaces and fewer virus restrictions. But now Covid restlessness is giving way to fears that the Federal Reserve’s cure for inflation — higher rates — will tip the US into a recession.

Idaho’s biggest builder, CBH Homes, has had about a third of buyers cancel contracts in the past few months, nearly twice the level at the start of the year, according to Corey Barton, the company’s president. He’s got 200 unsold finished homes, compared with 75 at the end of last year, and said he’ll probably surpass the 350 he was left with after the last crash 15 years ago. In a sense the inventory was there all along — it was just hidden, he says.

Builders had been deliberately holding back houses, waiting until they were a couple months from completion before releasing them for sale. That’s because they couldn’t build fast enough to meet sky-high demand. By waiting, they could charge the current market price as materials costs climbed.

But now, the market is getting flooded with listings, Barton said. Homes are finishing or are getting listed earlier in the construction process.

Meanwhile, CBH has cut starts by about half. Subcontractors involved in the early stages of construction, digging out basements or pouring foundations are already feeling it, he said.

“The movement from out of state caused a false market,” Barton said. “We have to accept things for the way they are. It’s going to get tough.”

Builders of new homes find themselves in an especially trick spot, because while most traditional sellers can afford to wait or even postpone a sale if conditions deteriorate, builders will have to discount until they find the market-clearing price, said Benjamin Keys, a real estate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“The homebuilders have an understandable incentive to pull back right now and Americans need more affordable housing,” Keys said.

At Saratoga Homes’s Glendale Lakes sales office, marketing director Christina Nuon said she’s making cold calls to agents and hosting happy hour events to boost sales. The company has a menu of incentives to bring down costs for its entry-level buyers, from $12,000 toward closing costs to a subsidized 30-year mortgage rate of just under 4%.

“Buying down rates, it’s kind of going to be our incentive probably from now on out,” Nuon said. “Just because that’s the only way we can help buyers. We can’t reduce the price any lower.”  

Brown, the sales consultant, says the incentives have helped put a dent in inventory: “I am trying to find one buyer at a time,” he said, “and not get overwhelmed by what I have coming up.”

He worries that at the end of a potential recession, continued underbuilding will help keep prices elevated.

Tyler Durden Tue, 08/16/2022 - 18:55

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Economics

Singapore holds lead position in Omdia Fiber Development Index

Singapore holds lead position in Omdia Fiber Development Index
PR Newswire
LONDON, Oct. 5, 2022

LONDON, Oct. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Singapore has again emerged as leader in Omdia’s Global Fiber Development 2022 Index, with maximum scores in seven …

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Singapore holds lead position in Omdia Fiber Development Index

PR Newswire

LONDON, Oct. 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Singapore has again emerged as leader in Omdia's Global Fiber Development 2022 Index, with maximum scores in seven of the nine metrics. It is closely followed by South Korea, China, the UAE, Qatar, and Japan. All territories in the leading cluster benefit from strong national broadband plans with ambitious targets around ultra-high-speed services.

Historically, several otherwise highly developed broadband territories that rank lower in the fiber index tended to suffer from less clear or ambitious national plans, providing weaker incentives for operators to invest. However, due in part to the COVID-19 crisis demonstrating how important broadband networks are, governments are now strengthening their broadband targets and increasing their focus and investments in fiber-based infrastructure.

Research Director Michael Philpott said: "Fiber investment is an essential metric for government institutions and other stakeholders to track. As a broadband-access technology, optical fiber provides an optimized, highly sustainable, and future-proof quality service. This superior level of quality is essential for the development of future digital services and applications across all verticals.

"With increased efficiency stimulating greater innovation, high-speed broadband has been proven to drive not just consumer satisfaction but national economic indicators such as GDP and productivity. Only by maximizing investment in next-generation access can countries optimize their growth potential, and fiber-optic technology is key to that investment."

Omdia's Fiber Development Index tracks and benchmarks fiber a broad set of fiber investment metrics across 88 countries, including:

  • Fiber to the premises coverage
  • Fiber to the household penetration
  • Fiber to the business penetration
  • Mobile cell site fiber penetration
  • Advanced WDM technology investment

Based on Omdia's analysis of Ookla Speedtest data, the Index also quantifies the overall broadband quality of experience improvements driven by that investment, namely:

  • Median download speed
  • Median upload speed
  • Median latency
  • Median jitter

Michael Philpott and a team of Omdia analysts will be presenting and debating a wide range of upcoming telecoms issues and trends at Network X between 18-20 October 2022. Register for a media pass or request a virtual briefing here.

ABOUT OMDIA

Omdia, part of Informa Tech, is a technology research and advisory group. Our deep knowledge of tech markets combined with our actionable insights empower organizations to make smart growth decisions.

Media Contact
Fasiha Khan / T: +44 7503 666806 / E: fasiha.khan@omdia.com
Visit www.omdia.com

 

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Three Infrastructure Investments to Buy as War and Inflation Rage

Three infrastructure investments to buy as war and inflation rage offer ways to overcome ongoing economic risks in pursuit of precious profits. The three…

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Three infrastructure investments to buy as war and inflation rage offer ways to overcome ongoing economic risks in pursuit of precious profits.

The three infrastructure investments to buy as war rains terror and destruction, inflation rampages and the Fed raises rates feature companies that appear well-positioned to succeed amid market mayhem. Stocks have advanced in the past couple of trading days, but the economic and geopolitical risks still leave many prognosticators warning that a new 2022 market bottom may yet lie ahead.

One of the three infrastructure investments to buy showcases a company whose unmanned drones have proven their value in Ukraine as the nation’s outnumbered defenders recently have begun to push back a Russian invasion of more than 120,000 troops that began Feb. 26. Another company on the list of three infrastructure investments to buy includes a producer of solar panels that could help alleviate a war-related energy shortfall in Europe due to Russia cutting its supply of gas to nations opposing its attack of Ukraine.   

Three Infrastructure Investments to Buy Look to Evade Financial Fallout

“Stocks have been beset with no shortage of problems in recent weeks,” wrote Mark Skousen, PhD, to subscribers of his weekly Home Run Trader advisory service. “The primary negative, of course, is that the Federal Reserve is determined to slow the economy, reduce demand, and thereby bring down inflation.”

Mark Skousen, Forecasts & Strategies chief and Ben Franklin scion, meets Paul Dykewicz.

However, too much tightening, too fast, risks pushing the United States into a recession, continued Skousen, an economist who uses his analysis of inflation, interest rates and monetary policy in recommending stocks and options to buy. Economic statistics are showing a slowdown in the economy, if not a recession, he added.

“Even though real gross domestic product (GDP) is slightly negative, second-quarter gross output (GO) — which measures total spending in the economy — grew by 1.7% in real terms,” Skousen stated. “GO includes the supply chain, which is still catching up from the lockdown-induced shortages.”

Three Infrastructure Investments to Buy Face ‘Super-Strong’ Dollar

Additional concerns include a “super-strong dollar,” sliding consumer confidence and a cooling residential real estate market, Skousen counseled.

Investors can consider an exchange-traded fund that offers broad exposure to companies providing automation infrastructure, said Bob Carlson, a pension fund manager who also leads the Retirement Watch investment newsletter.

Bob Carlson, investment guru of Retirement Watch, talks to Paul Dykewicz.

Carlson suggested Robo Global Robotics and Automation (ROBO), a fund that seeks to follow an index that is concentrated in robotics-related or automation-oriented companies. The fund had decent performance until 2022 when it plunged. The fund became caught in the downdraft that befell technology and industrial companies.

Both sectors have done poorly as interest rates rose in 2022, Carlson commented. The fund is down nearly 40% in 2022, while its three-year return is just shy of an annualized 6%.

The fund owns 81 stocks and has 17% of the fund in the 10 largest positions. ROBO’s top holdings recently consisted of Cognex (NASDAQ: CGNX), Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ: ISRG) and IPG Photonics (NASDAQ: IPGP).

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Three Infrastructure Investments to Buy Buoyed by Unmanned Drone Stock

“Additive manufacturing technologies are at an inflection point in their ability to solve challenges faced by manufacturing companies, particularly with recent labor shortages and supply chain disruptions,” according to Chicago-based investment firm William Blair & Co. “Historically, additive manufacturing applications have been limited by productivity capabilities and lack of industrial strength materials.”

Executives of AeroVironment, Inc., (NASDAQ: AVAV), an Arlington, Virginia-based maker of unmanned drones and other multi-domain robotic systems, recently gave a presentation to William Blair analysts about how software from its Plank and Progeny acquisitions provided a key competitive advantage. Indeed, the success of AeroVironment’s “kamikaze drones” in Ukraine may extend into Asia.

AeroVironment officials compared the Ukraine War-related Switchblade media coverage to “100 SuperBowl ads worth of press.” Before the war, AeroVironment was not even authorized to export the Switchblade.

“It was used in the Middle East for over a decade, but it was viewed as a niche offering,” William Blair analysts wrote. “Ukraine is providing a testing ground that proves the Switchblade 300 is incredibly valuable. Now it has U.S. State Department permission to sell to more than 20 countries. In mid-September, it was reported that Japan is evaluating purchasing several hundred kamikaze drones and is evaluating AeroVironment’s Switchblade.”

A recent Switchblade 600 contract for Ukraine valued at $2.2 million may be a tipping point. On Sept. 15, almost six months after an initial report that a contract was in the works, it came to fruition.

While Javelin, Stinger and TOW traditional missile systems have a three-mile maximum range, the Switchblade 600 has a 20-mile top range with similar effects. The Switchblade 600 has the same size warhead and can be launched without a visual lock on the target, William Blair analysts wrote in a recent research note.

AeroVironment Stands out Among Three Infrastructure Investments to Buy

William Blair rated AeroVironment to “outperform” the market and indicated it appears to be the favorite to win the Army $1 billion/10-year FTUAS program, but an executive at the robotics company estimated that the U.S. Navy addressable market may be larger than the potential market for the Army. Software from Planck, acquired by AeroVironment, enables the JUMP-20 military battlefield drone to perform vision-based autonomous landings onto moving platforms, such as maritime vessels.

The JUMP-20 is a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), fixed-wing unmanned aircraft used to provide advanced multi-sensor intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) services. AeroVironment’s systems “flourished” during Navy IMX 2022 exercises earlier this year, according to William Blair. 

Regarded as the largest unmanned exercises in the world, IMX 2022 showed how AeroVironment’s LEAP software received feeds from manned aircraft, unmanned aircraft, manned vessels and unmanned vessels. At IMX 2022, AeroVironment’s LEAP software was not supposed to be the hub, but when other software “was not executing.” AeroVironment’s LEAP software assumed the hub role on an ad hoc basis.

“We expect AeroVironment’s success at IMX 2022 to lead to contracts for its JUMP-20, Puma and Switchblade aircraft down the road,” the William Blair analysts wrote.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

Three Infrastructure Investments to Buy Include Standex International 

Standex International Corporation (NYSE: SXI), a multinational manufacturer of food service equipment, engravings, engineering technologies, electronics and hydraulics headquartered in Salem, New Hampshire, has many growth paths ahead of it. Rated by William Blair to “outperform” the market, Standex International could materially accelerate organic growth to 10% or more during the next two to three years, excluding its commercial solar panel production volumes for an innovative Gr3n joint venture with Italy’s Enel (OTCMKTS: ENLAY).

That partnership with a multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas has gained importance due to the suspected sabotage of both under water pipelines of the Nord Stream 1 from Russia to Western Europe, along with one line of Nord Stream 2. Seismologists in Denmark and Sweden suggest that sizeable explosions on the order of 100 kilograms of TNT occurred in both incidents.

With Russia’s President Vladimir Putin facing unexpected battlefield setbacks more than six months after he ordered a Feb. 26 invasion of neighboring Ukraine that the former KGB agent euphemistically called a “special military operation,” the pipeline sabotage seems targeted to hurt European nations as winter nears. Since Putin ordered troops into Ukraine in February, Russia has cut supplies of natural gas to Europe to heat homes, generate electricity and fuel factories.

European Leaders Complain of ‘Energy Blackmail’ by Putin

European leaders have accused Putin of using “energy blackmail” to weaken their support for Ukraine as the country seeks to repel Russia’s aggression.

Without presenting any evidence, Russian officials are attempting to blame the United States for the apparent sabotage, even though the affected nations are among America’s closest allies. President Biden countered the accusations were the latest in a continuing Russian campaign of “disinformation and lies.”

Biden also described the explosions of the Nordstream pipelines as acts of “sabotage” and discussed sending divers to examine the pipelines to find evidence that could be brought to light. Russia’s audacious move to “annex” Ukrainian territory in a Putin-led ceremony last Friday, Sept. 30, was declared illegal by Ukraine, the United Nations, the United States and many other Western allies who said it violated Ukrainian and international law.

Solar Panel Design Aids One of Three Infrastructure Investments to Buy

Standex further plans to benefit from significantly higher research and development (R&D) investments for new product development to “materially increase organic sales growth,” William Blair opined. New product launches are expected across all five of Standex’s businesses in fiscal 2023, including high growth end-markets such as renewable energy, electric vehicles, human health, commercialization of space and sustainable products.

Standex’s Gr3n joint venture could attain full commercialization by mid-decade, potentially becoming Standex’s sixth business segment. The result could boost Standex’s “organic sales growth” to the low teens in the next three to five years, the William Blair analysts wrote.

The joint venture has developed and tested a prototype for a highly innovative, extremely efficient and 100% recyclable new solar panel design that is 30-35% more efficient and weighs 38% less than traditional glass solar panels. With interest in solar panels rising as the European Union (EU) scrambles to replace the 40% of its energy previously sourced from Russia, Standex is expanding electronics’ production capacity in Germany, China and India, the investment firm reported. 

“If the new recyclable, highly efficient solar panel can be cost-effectively produced, it could become the largest new product in Standex’s history,” according to the William Blair analysts.

Chart courtesy of www.stockcharts.com

U.S. CDC Halts Its Country-by-Country Travel Notices

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dropped its country-by-country COVID-19 travel health notices on Monday, Oct. 3. Those warnings began early in the pandemic as COVID-19 cases and deaths climbed.

COVID risks affect supply and demand for infrastructure stocks, but not as much as cyclical companies whose share prices can soar when economic conditions are favorable but fall fast when inflation, a potential recession and Fed interest rate hikes imperil stock prospects. Savvy investors monitor COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns to forecast how certain stocks and sectors, such as infrastructure, are affected.

Another encouraging sign occurred when Canada announced on Sept. 26 that it would remove all remaining COVID-19 entry restrictions, such as testing, quarantine and isolation requirements. That development could boost trade and tourism between that country and the United States.

China’s strict zero-tolerance COVID policy continues to be controversial and recently sparked a rare protest in its technology hub of Shenzhen, social media video showed. The dissent came after government officials ordered a sudden lockdown due to 10 new infections on Sept. 27 in the city of more than 18 million people. Officials ordered residents in three districts there to stay home.

China has locked down more than 70 cities fully or partially to preserve its zero-tolerance policy of COVID. However, 27 people were killed and 20 more were injured when a quarantine bus overturned on a mountain road on Sept. 20.

U.S. COVID-19 deaths ticked up by nearly 4,000, up about 1,000 compared to roughly 3,000 the previous week. Cases in the country totaled 96,481,081, as of early Oct. 5, while deaths jumped to 1,060,408, according to Johns Hopkins University. America stands out dubiously as the nation with the most COVID-19 deaths and cases.

Worldwide COVID-19 deaths in the past week rose by more than 11,000, up about 2,000 from the prior week. The number of deaths totaled 6,550,203, as of Oct. 5, according to Johns Hopkins. Global COVID-19 cases reached 619,211,562.

Roughly 79.5% of the U.S. population, or 264,112,767, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as of Oct. 5, the CDC reported. Fully vaccinated people total 225,284,115, or 67.9%, of the U.S. population, according to the CDC. The United States also has given at least one COVID-19 booster vaccine to almost 110 million people.

The three infrastructure investments to buy can be repurchased at reduced prices after a rough 2022 market wide. Despite high inflation, Russia’s continuing war in Ukraine and recession risk after 0.75% rate hikes by the Fed in June, July and Sept. 21, the three infrastructure investments to buy offer some insulation compared to cyclical stocks with government budgets less economically sensitive than the private sector. 

Paul Dykewicz, www.pauldykewicz.com, is an accomplished, award-winning journalist who has written for Dow Jones, the Wall Street JournalInvestor’s Business DailyUSA Today, the Journal of Commerce, Seeking Alpha, Guru Focus and other publications and websites. Paul, who can be followed on Twitter @PaulDykewicz, is the editor of                                  StockInvestor.com and DividendInvestor.com, a writer for both websites and a columnist. He further is editorial director of Eagle Financial Publications in Washington, D.C., where he edits monthly investment newsletters, time-sensitive trading alerts, free e-letters and other investment reports. Paul previously served as business editor of Baltimore’s Daily Record newspaper. Paul also is the author of an inspirational book, “Holy Smokes! Golden Guidance from Notre Dame’s Championship Chaplain,” with a foreword by former national championship-winning football coach Lou Holtz. The book is great as a gift and is endorsed by Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Ara Parseghian, “Rocket” Ismail, Reggie Brooks, Dick Vitale and many othersCall 202-677-4457 for multiple-book pricing.

The post Three Infrastructure Investments to Buy as War and Inflation Rage appeared first on Stock Investor.

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Nearly Half Of Americans Making Six-Figures Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Nearly Half Of Americans Making Six-Figures Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Roughly 60% of Americans say they’re living paycheck to paycheck -…

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Nearly Half Of Americans Making Six-Figures Living Paycheck To Paycheck

Roughly 60% of Americans say they're living paycheck to paycheck - a figure which hasn't budged much overall from last year's 55% despite inflation hitting 40-year highs, according to a recent LendingClub report.

Even people earning six figures are feeling the strain, with 45% reporting living paycheck to paycheck vs. 38% last year, CNBC reports.

"More consumers living paycheck to paycheck indicates that many are continuing to lose their financial stability," said LendingClub financial health officer, Anuj Nayar.

The consumer price index, which measures the average change in prices for consumer goods and services, rose a higher-than-expected 8.3% in August, driven by increases in food, shelter and medical care costs.

Although real average hourly earnings also rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% for the month, they remained down 2.8% from a year ago, which means those paychecks don’t stretch as far as they used to. -CNBC

Meanwhile, Bank of America found that 71% of workers say their income isn't keeping pace with inflation - resulting in a five-year low in terms of financial security.

"It is no secret that prices have been increasing for everyday Americans — not only in the goods and services they purchase but also in the interest rates they’re paying to fund their lives," said Nayar, who noted that people are relying more on credit cards and carry a higher monthly balance, making them financially vulnerable. "This can have detrimental consequences for someone who pays the minimum amount on their credit cards every month."

According to an Aug. 30 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, credit card balances increased by $46 billion from last year, becoming the second-biggest source of overall debt last quarter.

And as Bloomberg noted last month, more US consumers are saddled with credit card debt for longer periods of time. According to a recent survey by CreditCards.com, 60% of credit card debtors have been holding this type of debt for at least a year, up 50% from a year ago, while those holding debt for over two years is up 40%, from 32%, according to the online credit card marketplace.

And while total credit-card balances remain slightly lower than pre-pandemic levels, inflation and rising interest rates are taking a toll on the already-stretched finances of US households.

About a quarter of respondents said day-to-day expenses are the primary reason why they carry a balance. Almost half cite an emergency or unexpected expense, including medical bills and home or car repair.

The Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates for the fifth time this year next week. Credit-card rates are typically directly tied to the Fed Funds rate, and their increase along with a softening economy may lead to higher delinquencies. 

Total consumer debt rose $23.8 billion in July to a record $4.64 trillion, according to data from the Federal Reserve. -Bloomberg

The Fed's figures include credit card and auto debt, as well as student loans, but does not factor in mortgage debt.

Tyler Durden Tue, 10/04/2022 - 20:25

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