Press Release

Median-Income Household Can Only Afford Average-Priced New Car in One of the 25 Largest U.S. Metros

 
 
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CHICAGO – February 26, 2013 – A median-income household can only afford the average-priced new car or light truck in one of the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. (Washington, D.C.), according to research released today by Interest.com, a Bankrate (NYSE: RATE) company. Interest.com published a related list of how much a median-income household in each metro area can afford to spend on a vehicle.

“What this research indicates, more than anything, is that a lot of Americans are spending too much money on their cars,” said Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com. “Car costs are one of the most controllable parts of a household’s budget. For example, if you live in New York City or San Francisco, you’re probably going to have to pay a lot for housing, but you don’t have to pay a lot for a car. You’re better off driving something more affordable and saving or investing the difference.”

When calculating how much a household can afford to spend on a car or light truck, Interest.com considered three key factors that are commonly referred to as the “20/4/10” rule. That is: a down payment of at least 20%; financing lasting no longer than four years; and principal, interest and insurance not exceeding 10% of a household’s gross income.

Interest.com recommends that median-income households spend no more than the following amounts on vehicle payments (principal and interest) in total and each month. For comparative purposes, the average price of a new car or light truck in 2012 was $30,550, according to TrueCar. That equates to a monthly payment of approximately $601.

1. Washington, D.C.

Affordable Purchase Price: $31,940

Maximum Monthly Payment: $628

2. San Francisco

Affordable Purchase Price: $26,786

Maximum Monthly Payment: $537

3. Boston

Affordable Purchase Price: $26,025

Maximum Monthly Payment: $507

4. Baltimore

Affordable Purchase Price: $24,079

Maximum Monthly Payment: $468

5. Minneapolis

Affordable Purchase Price: $24,042

Maximum Monthly Payment: $470

6. Seattle

Affordable Purchase Price: $22,963

Maximum Monthly Payment: $466

7. Portland, Ore.

Affordable Purchase Price: $21,985

Maximum Monthly Payment: $397

8. Denver

Affordable Purchase Price: $21,835

Maximum Monthly Payment: $432

9. San Diego

Affordable Purchase Price: $21,781

Maximum Monthly Payment: $433

10. New York City

Affordable Purchase Price: $21,464

Maximum Monthly Payment: $431

11. Philadelphia

Affordable Purchase Price: $21,069

Maximum Monthly Payment: $419

12. Chicago

Affordable Purchase Price: $20,616

Maximum Monthly Payment: $417

13. Los Angeles

Affordable Purchase Price: $20,385

Maximum Monthly Payment: $410

14. Sacramento

Affordable Purchase Price: $19,965

Maximum Monthly Payment: $397

15. Dallas

Affordable Purchase Price: $19,959

Maximum Monthly Payment: $389

16. Houston

Affordable Purchase Price: $19,811

Maximum Monthly Payment: $386

17. Milwaukee

Affordable Purchase Price: $19,297

Maximum Monthly Payment: $373

18. Atlanta

Affordable Purchase Price: $19,122

Maximum Monthly Payment: $376

19. St. Louis

Affordable Purchase Price: $18,550

Maximum Monthly Payment: $371

20. Pittsburgh

Affordable Purchase Price: $17,298

Maximum Monthly Payment: $340

21. Phoenix

Affordable Purchase Price: $17,243

Maximum Monthly Payment: $348

22. San Antonio

Affordable Purchase Price: $17,137

Maximum Monthly Payment: $334

23. Detroit

Affordable Purchase Price: $17,093

Maximum Monthly Payment: $332

24. Miami

Affordable Purchase Price: $15,188

Maximum Monthly Payment: $295

25. Tampa

Affordable Purchase Price: $14,516

Maximum Monthly Payment: $282

More information is available at:

http://www.interest.com/auto/news/car-prices-outpace-median-income/

Methodology:

For each metro area, Interest.com calculated 10% of the monthly median gross household income in that area and subtracted the average monthly insurance premium in that area to determine the maximum amount that the median-income household should spend on monthly car payments (principal and interest).

Interest.com used its Auto Loan Calculator to calculate how much the median-income household can afford to borrow. Assumptions: 20% down payment, 48-month loan, national average interest rate, roll the sales tax into the amount being financed. The calculator is available at:

http://www.interest.com/auto/calculators/auto-loan-calculator/

Sources:

Median incomes for each metro area were pulled from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 "American Community Survey” (the latest year for which data is available).

Insurance costs are 2010 statewide averages from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (the latest year for which data is available).

TrueCar provided the average national cost for new cars or light trucks in 2012.

The average rate for a 48-month new car loan came from Bankrate.com (January 23, 2013).

Sales tax rates were obtained from local governments and car dealers.

About Interest.com:

Since it was created in 1994, Interest.com has been helping consumers make smart financial decisions. Interest.com’s stories, calculators and interest rate tables also appear on the websites of more than 100 newspapers in 31 states, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Dallas Morning News.

Interest.com is owned by Bankrate, Inc., which is among the largest and most trusted providers of personal finance advice and information on the Web.

 

 

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