A new report quantifies the rising cost of consumer car loans, which are getting more and more expensive.
Car-shopping research website Edmunds shows that about 16% of consumers who financed a new car in the fourth quarter have monthly payments of at least $1,000, the highest ever level. That compared with 10.5% a year earlier and 6.7% in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Even some used-car buyers committed to the same payment segment – a record 5.4%, up from about 4% year-over-year and from 1.5% two years earlier.
Edmunds also reported that down payments on car purchases are rising. The average for new and used cars also made records in the quarter, jumping to $6,780 and 3,921, respectively.
Rising interest rates are a big factor in the increasing cost of buying a vehicle. The average annual percentage rate on new cars reached 6.5% in the fourth quarter, Edmunds reported, up from 5.7% quarter-over-quarter and from 4% year-over-year.
Meanwhile, more consumers are shifting from leases to purchases. Edmunds says the new-vehicle lease penetration rate dropped from 29% in the fourth quarter of 2019, just before the pandemic, to 16% in the recently ended quarter. Among luxury-vehicle shoppers, it fell from 53% to 26%.