My Bankruptcy colleagues and I predicted a tsunami in Bankruptcy filings beginning in mid to late 2020 and even today. Interestingly enough, it never happened. In fact, 2021 was the lowest national filing statistically since 2000. Personally, my consumer filings were extremely slow. The conventional wisdom is that the extension of unemployment benefits, moratoriums on rent, and CARES act grants kept people afloat.
I believe those were certainly factors. However, as equally impactful has been the rise in housing prices, which creates instant equity in the family home. In Bakersfield and Kern County, I do not believe the high dollar appreciation in homes has tracked with an increase in wages. Over the years, in explaining why people have to file for bankruptcy, I have utilized the phrase “too much home, too much car.” Meaning, house payments and car payments took too large of a percentage of one’s take home pay. If home prices go down, with the accompanying loss of equity, I fear filings will increase dramatically. My best advice I can give is if bankruptcy is on your horizon, see me sooner than later.