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Shortages, interest rates are pushing up prices

“Simply put, there is not enough supply of sellable vehicles to support demand,” said Jeff Schuster, LMC Automotive’s president of Americas operations and global vehicle forecasts, in a forecast published jointly with J.D. Power.

An affordability index published by Cox Automotive and Moody’s Analytics shows that the number of median weeks of income needed to purchase a new car rose to 41.3 weeks in May from 40.8 weeks in April — and up from about 35 weeks a year earlier.

3 ways to save on buying a new or used auto

While current market conditions aren’t favorable for car buyers, there are ways to try bringing the cost of a new or used auto down. Here are some tips from Edmunds:

  • Know your trade-in value. The extra equity from a trade-in is your biggest negotiating tool in today’s market.
  • Know your pre-approved interest rate (i.e., from a credit union or bank). Even if you have excellent credit, it’s good to get pre-approved for a loan and know what interest rate you qualify for — which helps determine how much car you can actually afford — and then see if a dealership will match or beat the rate you can get elsewhere.
  • Know your overall budget. With prices and interest rates heading higher, you may not be able to afford as much car as you think. Consider costs aside from monthly payments, including depreciation, taxes, fees, fuel, maintenance and repairs.