It’s the good news we’ve been waiting to hear: used car prices are finally falling. However, monthly payments are still rising, which means many people are holding off on selling or trading in their vehicles. Interest-rate hikes from the Federal Reserve are the culprit of higher monthly payments – and experts predict that we won’t be seeing relief any time soon.
The New Face of the Used Car Market
The average monthly payment for used cars is 47 percent higher this year, reaching an average of $551 a month, as compared to 2019. Experts say that monthly car tabs will continue to increase to $570 by the end of this year, and continue increasing in 2023.
The aggressive attempt to curb inflation is having a negative impact on the used car market, as these vehicles are no longer affordable. As a result, used car dealers are struggling with significant drops in sales. Even Carvana, an online-only used-car retailer, plans to lay off 8 percent of its workforce due to sluggish sales.
Affordability and supply chain issues will also continue to affect the used car market in 2023. While the auto industry was impacted by the chip shortage, they were still able to sell vehicles over MSRP. Sales volume dropped, but cars were selling at a premium. Now, new car sales are estimated to close at 13 million units this year, a three million drop from previous years.
Car Interest Rates Expected to Stay High Through 2023
So when will interest rates come down, making used vehicles more affordable? Not for a while. In fact, experts say that they expect auto interest rates to stay high throughout all of 2023. Consumers have gotten used to generally low interest rates for the past couple of decades, but this is no longer the norm.
According to Edmunds, 14 percent of consumers who financed a new vehicle between July and September this year are paying more than $1,000 a month. This means that one in seven loans is more than a grand! It wasn’t that long ago that mortgage payments weren’t much more than this. Now, we’re paying this just to drive a car.
Options for Affording a Used Vehicle
If you have a decent vehicle that you bought several years ago, you’re probably in good shape. You likely purchased the car at a competitive price and have a low interest rate. But not everyone is sitting pretty. If you are in need of a new car, you may have no choice but to buy in this market.
Here are the best recommendations for affording a used vehicle in 2023:
Consider repossessed cars
Repo cars come at a significant discount and can open up more opportunities. RepoFinder.com has a huge inventory of repossessed vehicles that you can purchase directly from banks, lenders and credit unions. You can negotiate directly with the seller, and even get attractive financing. Some people see savings of up to 30 percent!
Shop around for financing
Oftentimes, buyers get their financing directly from the dealership. While it is easy and convenient, you’ll often end up paying higher interest rates. To save money and ensure you’re getting the best rates, shop around for financing before you start looking for a used vehicle.
Avoid cars that are in short supply
Some vehicles are in short supply, such as Kia, Subaru and Honda. Therefore, you’re going to pay more for them. Buick, Jeep and Ram have more abundant inventories, which means you have more negotiating power. They may also offer some incentives.
Save for a larger down payment
You can save for a down payment by budgeting carefully and trading in your current vehicle. For every $1,000 you put down, you can save around $17 a month. While it might not sound like much, you can make your purchase more affordable by saving for a larger down payment. And don’t forget to make the most of your trade-in – now is a good time to start polishing it up!
Shopping for an affordable used car? RepoFinder is pleased to offer a comprehensive list of repossessed vehicles from banks and credit unions. You can use one platform to view available vehicles, research their condition and place a bid. And it’s all free to use!