With new vehicle prices climbing to all-time highs, a record number of Americans are turning to leases in a bid to keep monthly payments as low as possible.
"The difference between a monthly payment for those leasing a new vehicle versus those who buy new is almost $100," said Melinda Zabritski, Senior Director of Experian Automotive.
Officially, the latest report on automotive lending by Experian Automotive found the average new vehicle lease monthly payment in the first quarter was $405 while the average monthly payment for a new vehicle loan was $488.
In addition, while the average monthly payment for those buying a new vehicle increased $14, the average monthly payment for those leasing actually fell $7 compared to the same time last year according to the report.
The numbers help explain why Experian found an all-time high of 31.46 percent of new vehicles financed in the first quarter were leased. Just five years ago, Experian says the percentage of new vehicles leased was 24.05 percent.
The primary factor driving the move to longer auto loans and more leasing is the rising cost of new cars, trucks and SUVs.
With the average vehicle transaction price (what's paid at a dealership) climbing above $31,000 according to numerous auto industry analysts, the amount consumers are financing has hit an all-time according to Experian. In fact, this new report found the average amount financed for a new vehicle loan in Q1 jumped more than a thousand dollars to a record high of $28,711.
Experian says the average amount financed for a used vehicle bought in the first quarter was $18,218, increase of almost $300.