This is how long the average earner needs to work to buy a new car

We pay for new cars with money. But we pay for money with our time. A new study shows that new cars take more of our time than ever before.

The Cox Automotive/Moody’s Analytics Vehicle Affordability Index tracks the number of weeks of income the average earner needs to buy the average new vehicle. It’s been full of depressing news throughout 2021 and has hit a new high now that October’s data is available.

Cox Automotive is the parent company of Kelley Blue Book.

Every factor the index tracks moved against car shoppers in October. The number of median weeks of income needed to purchase the average new vehicle increased to 42.4 weeks. That’s the longest figure since the index began in 2012.

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The sales price of the average new vehicle hit a record high of $46,036. Incentives declined as well, with discounts on new cars now sitting at least at a 20-year low.

Estimated median incomes declined 0.6% in October, and loan rates increased.

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Taken together, those factors pushed the average monthly car payment to an astonishing $680—nearly 20% higher than just one year before.

This story originally ran on

Katherine E. Ackerman

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