Car shopping? Get ready for sticker shock.
It's car buying season, and with new vehicle prices at all time highs, a lot of shoppers are facing a dilemma. The average new car price in 2019 is up to $37,000, according to Kelley Blue Book.
You can thank our love affair with SUVs, which sell for much more than mom's Camry did.
So to ease that hit, should you buy new, slightly used, or just lease for that lower monthly payment?
Manufacturers are pushing leasing hard, with average leases in the $450 a month range, compared to $550 for a purchase (and that is often with a six-year loan these days).
But the car site Edmunds.com says a fast growing alternative is buying used.
A 3-year-old SUV (often with full Powertrain Warranty) can save you $13,000 or more
Nervous about getting a lemon? Look for Certified Pre-owned cars, which typically come with bumper-to-bumper warranties and must pass a full inspection.
The rising APR worry
But from the "doesn't that stink" file, the other factor making cars more expensive this year.
USA Today says interest rates on new cars are now the highest since the 2010 recession, which may have you saying "Doesn't that stink?"
Edmunds,com says the average APR is now 6.28%, compared with 5.5% last year, and 4% just a few years ago. Remember ads screaming "Zero Percent Financing?" Those are long gone.
One option, Edmunds says, is to skip the top of the line version of the car you want. Choose a model with cloth seats, or without the "tech" package.
But that is also why 3-year-old cars, in good shape and freshly off a lease, are now more popular than ever. The original owner took the 20% to 30% hit. You get a still good car, with many years of life left, for a huge discount.
The good news is that many 3-year-old vehicles now have Bluetooth technology and rear view cameras, so you don't have to skimp on technology, so you don't waste your money.
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