Wikinvest Wire

Home prices and revolving credit

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

This could be the most interesting chart in the updated series of charts where the Case-Shiller Home Price Index is laid up against all kinds of other economic data. Two days ago it was home prices and gasoline prices in The Hummer "sweet spot" revisited and yesterday it was the mostly unexciting home values and consumer sentiment.

Today, the relationship between the nation's housing bubble and the country's outstanding revolving credit (i.e., mostly credit cards) is examined with some surprising results.
IMAGE First, you can see how consumers turned to credit cards as both the 2001 and 2008 recessions began, however, due at least in part to real estate related financial resources such as home equity lines of credit, the surge was not nearly as great in 2008 than in 2001.

Notice that as home prices started to take off in 2004, revolving credit dropped sharply, presumably because money started gushing out of the housing ATM. After turning to credit cards a few years later following the bursting of the housing bubble, it looks as though consumers have sworn off plastic for good as revolving credit continues to decline even though home prices have been staging a bit of a rebound.

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