Borrowing Propensity

Despite the growth of purchase volumes, consumer leverage, as estimated by the financial obligations ratio (FOR), which measures debt service payments on mortgage debt, auto debt, consumer debt and property taxes as a percentage of disposable personal income, continued to decline, amounting to 15.27% in fourth-quarter 2014. This compares with a peak FOR of 18.09% recorded in fourth-quarter 2007 and a 35-year average of 16.51%. As interest rates rise, and consumers experience higher debt service burdens.