CHICAGO — The average auto loan balance reached its highest post-recession level during the second quarter, according to TransUnion. Delinquencies were also up, but the firm said the slight increase was no cause for concern.
More than five million additional consumers had an auto loan in the second quarter compared to the first. On a year-over-year basis, the number of consumers with an auto loan increased 7% to 77.95 million.
And according to TransUnion, the average auto loan balance per consumer grew 2.7% from the first quarter to a post-recession high of $18,177. Compared to the year-ago period, the average balance was up from $17,699.
“In recent year, the auto industry has experienced strong growth in truck and SUV sales, which we believe is one of the driver for higher average auto balances,” said Jason Laky, senior vice president and automotive and consumer lending business leader for TransUnion. “Strong economic fundamentals — particularly low gas prices and rising employment — are contributing to the continued growth in the auto sector.”
Auto originations, which TransUnion views one quarter in arrears to ensure all accounts are included in its data, grew 6.4% year over year in the first quarter to a post-recession high of 6.93 million.
A quarter later, the auto delinquency rate increased 11 basis points to 1% of outstanding auto balances, TransUnion reported. “While delinquency rates rose in the second quarter, auto delinquency has been at all-time lows,” Laky said. “We do not see a cause for concern from this slight increase.”