New-car interest rate hits 6-month low


The average new-vehicle interest rate sunk to a six-month low in July but is still up near 2009 recession levels, according to Edmunds.

“Interest rates have been on the upward trajectory this year,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis. “It was going to have to go up at some point. This year, it’s doing it.”

In July, the average interest rate on a new vehicle was 4.77 percent, about 1 percentage point lower than in July 2009. The highest rate so far this year was 5.04 percent in May.

Still, the average interest rate in July fell from months earlier as automakers advertised 0 percent finance deals, Edmunds said. About 11 percent of car buyers who financed their vehicles got a 0 percent deal, up from 9.47 percent in June of this year and from 10.2 percent in July 2016.

“You still have a lot of automakers that are offering some sort of subsidy, but whether not consumers qualify is the issue, too,” Caldwell told Automotive News.

Brands that have an older customer base tend to give more 0 percent financing deals because their customer demographic often has better credit and qualifies for the offer, Caldwell said.

“Zero-percent finance deals are common in the summer, but car buyers can save even more this year,” Caldwell said in a statement. The “higher [average] interest rates make zero-percent financing a big carrot for dealers seeking to lure car shoppers.”

She added: “In today’s declining market, every sale counts. We anticipate automakers will continue to ramp up zero-percent finance offers as we get deeper into the summer sell-down season.”

Affordability

Despite high interest rates, customers are keeping new-car payments affordable by lengthening their loan terms. The average new-car term reached a record 69.45 months in July, Edmunds said. The average amount financed inched up 1.6 percent to $30,689.

Consumers in July also increased their average down payment on a new car to $3,621, a 7.3 percent rise from the year-earlier month. A larger down payment keeps the monthly payment steady, Caldwell said. The average monthly payment rose just 1.4 percent to $509.

Rises on used

On the used-vehicle side, the average down payment in July jumped 6.6 percent year over year to $2,468; however, the average term was consistent with July 2016 at 66.9 months. The average monthly payment rose 1.3 percent to $383. The average interest rate increased 2.3 percent to 7.46 percent, and the average amount financed edged up 0.9 percent to $21,281.

Fuente: Automotive News