Student Loan Debt Drives Down Car Leases
Homes, appliances and other major purchases aren’t the only things being denied college graduates staggering under crushing levels of student loan debt.
Auto leases also have taken a dip, according to one major online leasing facilitator.
According to Swapalease.com, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based online leasing firm, lease credit approvals have slipped below “healthy” marketplace levels. Executives say student loan debt is driving down demands.
Over the past three months, the lease credit approval rating has slipped to 67.9%, below what is considered the 70% healthy marketplace level. The credit approval rating has been on a downward trajectory since a 2013 high of 75.6% in July. November approvals registered 70%, compared with 61.1% approvals in November 2012.
Since the beginning of summer, more college graduates have started shopping for a car on Swapalwase.com and the company believes a growing number of applicants feeling student loan debt pressures have played a larger role in the credit decline category.
“Swapalease.com has historically had a large demographic audience between 35 and 55, but in the last few years our marketplace has appealed to other age groups that also include recent graduates,” said Scot Hall, the firm’s EVP. “Credit is the lifeblood of leasing, and each bank must evaluate the credit history of each applicant interested in taking over a lease.”
Company officials believe the credit approvals rate will continue to shift in the coming months. However, similar to the broader automotive industry, where auto lending has improved considerably since the recession, Swapalease.com credit approvals are markedly improved compared with the past two years, the company said.