Friday, October 13, 2006

Household Debt Service Ratio continues to increase

For some good analysis and a graph comparing mortgage ratios and DSR click on the Calculated Risk link in the sidebar.

One thing I am sure of, even though I am not smart enough to provide technical analysis of the numbers, I know they are not good. If you look at the ratios starting from 80q1 (1st Quarter of 1980) to 06q2 (2nd Quarter of 2006) they steadily increase. I take this to mean that American households are servicing more debt than ever. Soon we will reach a breaking point where there will be too much debt to provide economic recovery stimulus.

Combine this with ever-expanding government debt and deficits as far as the eye can see, and you have the potential for the makings of a economic perfect storm.

Will we ever be able to start paying down our collective debt?

It wasn't too long ago that Alan Greenspan complained about "excess liquidity" (as in, too much savings and not enough borrowing) in the Asian markets. The problem is not too much liquidity in their markets, the problem is not enough savings in ours. When consumers making $40-50K per year are encouraged to buy a house for $500K and add other consumer debt on top of that.

Something has got to give. The continually increasing debt burden on both a personal and governmental level will limit our ability to grow the economy during times of economic contraction. The answer at this point is to start paying down both personal and governmental debt -- the sooner the better.

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