The upside to fewer home-equity loans

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

Home values seem to have hit bottom and started to recover. But analysts say home-equity loans are still down as a way to finance a car or truck purchase.

There’s a positive side to that, says TransUnion’s Peter Turek.

The lack of home-equity loans and other alternative financing drives more customers into traditional auto loans, he said last week. Turek is automotive vice president in the credit bureau’s financial services business unit.

“Prerecession, people could borrow from their stock market account; they could borrow from their home value. Those alternatives are not there yet,” he said. “I think when the SAAR (seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales) goes over 15 million, we’re going to see more auto loans than we did when the SAAR was 16 or 17 million.”

That should help make for a happier new year at dealerships and auto lenders.