Average New-Car Down Payment Hits Near-Record High, Reports Edmunds

A strong economy gives shoppers confidence to put hundreds more down up front to drive away in their dream car

Santa Monica, CA June 2, 2017 — As interest rates climb and consumers stretch to afford increasingly expensive cars, buyers are showing signs of practicality by digging deep to put more money down up front, according to a new analysis from Edmunds, the leading car shopping and information platform.

The amount of money car buyers put down to buy a new vehicle was up 6.5% in May to an average of $3,801—an increase of $233 from a year ago, and $504 from five years ago. Down payments were up slightly on the used-vehicle side as well; used-vehicle buyers put down an additional $93 on average in May, an increase of 3.8% compared to May of last year.


“Buyers want pricier cars with more bells and whistles, leading to the troubling trend of trading longer loan terms for lower monthly payments,” said Edmunds executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell. “But now that interest rates are also on the rise, something has to give. In our increasing credit-based culture where consumers are willing to finance everything from cellphones to vacations, more money up front shows car buyers aren’t completely sacrificing practicality in order to get the cars they really want.”

The Edmunds analysis found that while the average loan term, monthly payment, and amount financed on new vehicles have grown steadily over the past five years, each was only up about 1% in May compared to last year. This trend is also mirrored on the used side, with all three metrics showing slight dips in May.

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in the Edmunds Industry Center at www.edmunds.com/industry-center/.

NEW-VEHICLE FINANCING TRENDS

May 2017 Change from

May 2016

5-Year Change
Loan Term 69.1 months 1.1% 6.6%
Monthly Payment $510 1.2% 10.6%
Amount Financed $30,314 1.0% 15.9%
APR 5.0% 12.7% 14.9%
Down Payment $3,801 6.5% 15.3%

 

USED-VEHICLE FINANCING TRENDS

May 2017 Change from

May 2016

5-Year Change
Loan Term 67 months -0.2% 6.2%
Monthly Payment $385 -0.2% 4.1%
Amount Financed $21,310 -0.9% 11.3%
APR 7.63% 4.5% -7.8%
Down Payment $2,529 3.8% 12.3%

About Edmunds

Edmunds is the leading car information and shopping platform, helping millions of visitors each month find their perfect car. The company is regarded as one of America’s best workplaces by Fortune and Great Places to Work. Edmunds is based in Santa Monica, California, and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

Media Contact

Monica Favorite, Sr. Manager, Public Relations, 310-309-6319 (o), 805-207-2063 (m)

Press Release

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