ATLANTA (7/28/14)--Halfway through 2014, auto-loan balances have surged to $902.2 billion, an all-time high, according to the Equifax National Consumer Trends Report, released last week.
Total loan balances have jumped 10% since this time last year, while the total number of auto-loans outstanding climbed by 8.1 million to 64 million over that same stretch.
Meanwhile, serious delinquencies continue to hover near all-time lows, making up less than 1% of total outstanding balances for the third straight month.
"Auto lending continues to thrive, accounting for more than 50% of all new non-mortgage lending through April," said Dennis Carlson, Equifax deputy chief economist. "Lenders are responding to record-low delinquencies by offering great rates and terms, while consumers are responding to the improving economic conditions by making the decision to purchase newer vehicles."
Subprime lending also has swelled across all sectors this year, Carlson said, which could signal prosperous times ahead as a "fully functioning second-chance market is essential for a healthy economy."
Subprime borrowers, or those with credit scores of 640 or lower, made up 32% of all new auto loans originated over the last 12 months.
The total balance of subprime auto loans sits at $46.2 billion, an 8-year high and 28.2% of all new auto-loan balances.