Post-Foreclosure Consumers Are Ready to Rejoin Economy

From Bloomberg News, July 7, 2016

Millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosures or short sales during the housing crisis. Fortunately for the economy, time heals most wounds — and credit reports.

The number of people joining the rolls of those knocked from homeownership peaked seven years ago, so those blotches to their histories are starting to roll off the books right about now. The resulting improvement in credit scores means more Americans will find themselves with the ability and means to once again apply for loans, and not just for home purchases.

“Improving credit scores might entice households to start borrowing more in general,” said Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist at real estate search engine Trulia. And what better time than now, when interest rates are so low.

That, combined with sustained gains in employment and bigger increases in pay, could give consumer spending, which accounts for almost 70% of the U.S. economy, an added lift over the next couple of years. The impact, though, is hard to quantify because it’s difficult to estimate how many people will once again be emboldened to borrow after experiencing such a shock, said Jacob Oubina, a senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

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