Credit crisis makes it tougher to buy a car

By Sara Gouedy - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The crux of the current economic problem is that devalued mortgages are tying up credit for banks, so it's tough for them to make loans to businesses or individuals.

You'll notice this the most if you're trying to buy a house or a car.

What if the car you had now was the only one you'd have because you couldn't get financing for a new one? It's a grim picture, but one some economists say could come true because credit all over this country is getting harder and harder to get.

FOX19 associate producer Zakk Gammon just bought a new car. The new wheels came with a high, unexpected price.

"I had to get a cosigner, and luckily my grandfather helped out," said Gammon.

That's a step Gammon says he didn't expect because his credit score is good.

"My credit's almost spotless," he said. "The only thing that I would have on my credit now is just two credit cards that I am making biweekly payments on."

As the financial markets have stalled, so has credit. Experts say that makes getting things like a new car even harder for the average buyer.

"Just the cost of making these loans is going to be much higher," said economist Steve Slezak.

Slezak has made a career out of watching Wall street. He says some sort of government economic package will be vital to stop credit from freezing.

"When the market goes down, we're all hurt quite a bit, and when capital markets dry up, businesses all over the country are hurt," he said.

Even with drying up credit, not everyone's sure this will be an endless crisis.

"I'm actually thinking that now is the time to start investing again," said Lars Zetterst.

"I believe in the American people," added Vincent Quarles. "I believe we are resilient, we are just going through a crunch right now."

For Gammon, it's a crunch he's already felt, saying this cars the last major purchase he plans on making for some time.

And it's not just car loans. Economists say the credit freeze will affect home loans, college loans, credit cards, and major purchases.