Don't get too attached to that new 2018 model-year vehicle.
A majority of Americans cannot afford average-priced new cars, according to a report released on Tuesday from Bankrate Inc., a consumer financial services company. Despite growth in recent years in the automotive industry, stagnant households incomes have made it difficult for consumers to keep up with rising vehicle prices, Bankrate analyst Claes Bell told TheStreet.
"Although we've had pretty good car sales in recent years, they're not as a high as they should be," Bell said. "The typical household is not doing all that much better than what they were a few years ago. I think it's pushing down demand."
Between September 2009 and December 2015, vehicle sales increased by more than 80%, according to TradingEconomics.com. From 2009 to 2015, real median household income saw an increase of 2.7%, the U.S. Census Bureau reported.
In an analysis of median household incomes in 25 major U.S. metropolitan areas, only one could afford the payment of the $35,368 average-priced new car with a 20% down payment, a four-year loan and insurance payments comprising 10% of a household's gross income. An affordable car price for some cities was nearly 60% below that average.
"They're going to be underwater in that car," Bell said. "That's not good for households, and it's not good for automakers."
Even the averaged price new car at $19,200 would be difficult for consumers in eight of the largest 25 metro areas to afford, according to Bankrate.
Bell recommended that consumers pay attention to the total price of a car when they are looking to buy over the monthly payment price to better consider the interest they will pay and for how long they will need to make payments. He said more low- and middle-income households are having to stretch loan terms to six, seven or eight years to afford the transportation.
Here are the 25 largest metropolitan areas in order of affordable car prices.
Editors' pick: Originally published June 29.
With a median income of $100,000, an affordable vehicle is $37,223.41, nearly 12% above the average-priced car. That's about $697 per month for a four-year loan.
"D.C. has a couple things going for it," Bell said. "It has a high median income compared to the rest of he country. It has relatively inexpensive car insurance."
Clearly, Tesla (TSLA) is skewing the average.
Bankrate established an affordable vehicle price in San Francisco is $32,286.08, about 3% below the average new car. That's $631 per month.
An affordable price in Boston is $30,863.38, more than 7% below an averaged price new vehicle. That would be a $592 monthly payment. Perfect for a Ford (F) Focus.
The median household in Seattle can afford a car priced at $26,771.36, or $532 per month. That's nearly 20% under an average new car.
A price tag of $26,605.71 is affordable in the Twin Cities, according to Bankrate. That's $502 per month, and more than 20% under the price of an average new vehicle.
An affordable price is $26,355.39 for a vehicle in the Monumental City. That's nearly 21% below an average sticker price.
In Denver, a median-income household should not pay more than $24,485.39 for a vehicle, according to Bankrate. But it is more than 26% below the average new vehicle.
In San Diego, an affordable vehicle price is $23,439.74, more than 29% below the average price when buying new.
More than $23,386.08 is too pricey for a median household in Chicago, but it is almost 30% below the average price of a new car.
In Portland, $23,208.91 is too expensive for a new vehicle, Bankrate reports. That price is more than 30% below the average cost of a new car.
An affordable price in Philadelphia for a set of wheels is $22,600.28, 32% below the average cost.
An affordable price in New York is $22,380.46, almost 33% below the average price of a new car. Ideal for a Toyota (TM) Corolla.
In Atlanta, an affordable car is priced at $21,641.72. That's nearly 35% below the average price of a new car.
For a median household in Charlotte, Bankrate recommends not paying more than $20,553.31, more than 38% below the average cost of a new vehicle.
For a new car in Los Angeles, the price should be about $19,879.44, according to Bankrate. That's more than 40% below the average price of a car.
An affordable price in St. Louis is $19,840.30, more than 40% below the average cost of a new vehicle.
A new set of wheels in Phoenix should not put the median household back more than $19,038.21, according to Bankrate. That's almost 43% below the average sticker price.
An affordable price in Dallas is $19,038.21, almost 43% below the average sticker price.
The median household in Houston should not pay more than $18,857.72, more than 43% below the average price of a new vehicle, Bankrate reports.
An affordable price of a new vehicle in San Bernardino is $17,832.99, more than 44% below the average cost.
To get that new car smell in San Antonio, it is best not pay more than $16,432.50 for a household making the median income, according to Bankrate. Monthly, that's about a $324 payment, which is more than 50% below the average price of a new vehicle.
Median households can afford a $15,902.47 car in Orlando, according to Bankrate. It's more than 52% below the average price of a new vehicle and about a $309 monthly payment.
A monthly payment of $268 for $14,189.35 is about right for a median household income in Tampa. That is more than 57% below the average sticker price.
Paying $13,912.50, which is about $273 per month, is good price point for the median household income in Detroit, according to Bankrate. That is more than 58% of the average price of the vehicle.
A household with a median income here should not pay more than $13,576.83, or $324 per month, for a new vehicle, Bankrate reported. That is nearly 60% below the average price of a new car.
"They have the exact opposite [situation of Washington, D.C.]," Bell said. "They have a relatively low median income. They have really high insurance costs. It's not a super high sales tax, but its really the high insurance costs."
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