Tight auto supplies and high interest rates are pushing car payments ever higher, as judged by several key metrics.
The average estimated typical monthly payment for a new car increased in September to a record high $738, while auto loan rates are at a 15-year high this week, according to Cox Automotive.
It’s another challenging sign for consumers as the U.S. economy continues to wrestle with inflation at rates not seen in decades.
Just this month, CNBC reported that 14.3% of consumers who financed a new vehicle in the third quarter committed to payments at or above $1,000 a month.
That was up from 8.3% a year earlier, according to Edmunds. Among buyers of electric vehicles, 26% are paying that amount, while 24% of hybrid owners are forking out payments in that range.
The interest rate on new car loans is up to 5.7%, an increase from 4.3% in 2021.
And that’s in a climate where cars are going for more than 10% higher prices than a year ago. Inventory shortages, and heightened demand over the last year have driven prices higher, while interest rates tick upward.
According to Experian, the overall average monthly payment for used vehicles went from $440 in the second quarter of last year to $515 this year.
For those with good credit scores, that means an average monthly payment of $508 for a used vehicle, and an average of $531 a month for subprime consumers.