NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Auto buyers are getting a big break these days, as the average interest rate for a new car loan has fallen to 4.27% -- the lowest level in five years, according to Experian Automotive.
Maybe auto consumers have noticed and adopted something of a swagger; more and more are cruising dealer lots looking for brand-new sets of wheels. Money seems to be less of an object, with the average total car loan rising to $26,719 in the third quarter of 2013, up from $25,963 a year ago.
That's the highest since 2008, and an indication a healthier economy and lower auto loan rates are driving stronger auto sales.
"The third quarter of 2013 proved to be a good time to purchase a new vehicle, particularly for consumers who buy based on their monthly payments," says Melinda Zabritski, a senior director at Experian Automotive. "With loan rates at historic lows, car shoppers were able to take advantage and get a little more vehicle for their monthly payment. It's a win for everyone, as shoppers perceive they are getting better deals and manufacturers and dealers are boosting sales.
Lower rates are really contributing to stronger sales, Experian says, while the average monthly car payment in the third quarter of 2013 was $458 only $6 higher than the same period last year, when rates were higher.
Expect more tire kicking in dealer lots next year as a result.