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Is now a good time to buy a car?

Three questions to help you decide

It can be difficult to gauge whether or not it’s a good time to buy a car. The answer may be yes, or it may be no. Addressing these three questions will help pave your pathway with clarity and confidence.

  • What are the best car deals right now?
  • Are you financing the purchase of the car?
  • Can you afford to buy a car now?

What are the best car deals right now?

The answer to this question is changing by the minute. The key: Stay informed, and wait for the deal to surface.

For example, during the 2020 pandemic, RVs, motorcycles, and boat sales benefitted from a stay-close-to-home mentality. In some cases, this led to great deals. In others, the market was tapped out. People whose work was negatively impacted during COVID frequently parted with toys as well as cars, often at discount prices.

Your job is to be educated. Know the ideal price point for both your budget and target vehicle, and be ready when the opportunity arrives.

“There are deals out there,” said Jeremy Wheeler, Numerica’s AVP of dealer services. “It could be with a dealer; it could be with a private party. Take time to look for the best opportunity.”

Are you financing the purchase of the car?

Savings aren’t just about money off of a sticker price. When rates are low, saving money on interest payments is a real consideration.

It’s important to utilize tools like Numerica’s auto loan calculator to get a true sense of the best long-term solution for you. For instance, some dealerships offer 0% deals periodically based on the financial market, but a deal like that often means you are paying closer to the sticker price.

“You may be getting that offer instead of a rebate,” Wheeler said. “It might be a good idea to take the money off the sale price and finance it at a low-interest rate instead of taking the 0% deal.”

As a general rule, be cautious about structuring your loan to get the lowest monthly payments. Too much emphasis on lowering your monthly payment could cost you more in interest and often leads you to take out a longer loan. If you do choose lower payments but can afford more, use those savings to invest in something that will give you a good rate of return.

Can you afford to buy a car right now?

There is power in clarity, and that can be achieved through an honest and organized review of your financial situation.

So before you buy a car, make sure you’ve built a budget. (Need help? Here’s a handy checklist to walk you through building your money plan.)

One of the things to know before buying a car is how your car payment — including principal, interest, and insurance — fits into your budget. (Hint: It shouldn’t gobble up more than 10 to 15% of your monthly income.)

Information like this is power — the power to either drive home a car purchase today or prepare for when the time is right.

Today's Rates

February 28, 2021

Home Equity Line of Credit

as low as 3.50% APR

Certificates

as high as 1.00% APY

Visa Rates

as low as 7.99% APR

Auto/Truck (New/Used)

as low as 1.99% APR

Bonus Checking

0.90% APY