Despite my recent bullishness, I recognize that the United States has experienced a very anemic economic recovery. Here are a couple of anecdotal data points that show how difficult the recovery has been.
First, the Washington Post reported that senior citizens continue to bear the burden of student loans.
New research from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that Americans 60 and older still owe about $36 billion in student loans, providing a rare window into the dynamics of student debt. More than 10 percent of those loans are delinquent. As a result, consumer advocates say, it is not uncommon for Social Security checks to be garnished or for debt collectors to harass borrowers in their 80s over student loans that are decades old.
Ouch! Imagine retiring with student loans!
The trailer park housing recovery
Next, FT Alphaville reported that the US housing recovery has been led by…mobile homes:
Whether and how that sanguine trend seeps into the single family home housing market remains to be seen, with ‘Shadow” inventory levels and an opaque foreclosure pipeline make this a tougher call. Not to mention the difference in demographics between the two buyer bases. And while mobile home sales volumes are up, prices for manufactured houses are still negative year on year. If nothing else, the contours of the current recovery in this narrow part of the housing market likely inform the likely path of eventual recovery for the industry as a whole.
Call this a recovery, but seniors are now retiring still owing money on their student loans and Americans are downsizing from houses to trailer parks…
America has come to this.
Cam Hui is a portfolio manager at Qwest Investment Fund Management Ltd. (“Qwest”). This article is prepared by Mr. Hui as an outside business activity. As such, Qwest does not review or approve materials presented herein. The opinions and any recommendations expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or recommendations of Qwest.
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