New Car Prices Break Records: Average Monthly Payment Hits $733

Closeup side view of mid adult couple sitting in a brand new car at a local dealership.
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Buying a new car continued to get more expensive in July thanks to rising sticker prices and interest rates, with the estimated typical monthly payment hitting a new record high of $733, according to the latest Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index.

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The index, released on Monday, found that in July, you needed 42.2 weeks of median income to buy the average new vehicle. That was up from a downwardly revised 42.0 weeks in June. Year-over-year, the July figure rose 15%.

The average price paid for a new vehicle in July climbed 0.3% from the previous month to a new record of $48,182, according to data from Kelley Blue Book. Meanwhile, the average interest rate rose by 19 basis points in July versus June. This combination led to July’s estimated typical monthly payment of $733, up 0.9% from June.

In a press release, Cox Automotive said new-vehicle affordability in July was “much worse than a year ago when prices were lower, incentives were higher, and rates were much lower.”

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Even so, some experts suggest that certain shoppers could benefit from buying a new car now rather than later, especially if you have a vehicle to trade in. The reason is that a generous trade-in value will help offset higher new-car prices, according to Cars.com.

Right now, used car values are among their highest ever. At the same time, auto loan rates could climb higher in the coming months as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates.

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Meanwhile, used-car prices seem to be stabilizing, but only a little. As GOBankingRates reported last week, the average price of a used vehicle is $33,341, according to CoPilot’s Return to Normal Index. That’s down from the March peak, but only by $172.

If standard depreciation patterns still applied, the average used car price would be $23,295, which means buyers are paying an average of $10,046 more than they otherwise would because of the auto market bubble.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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