Home / Auto News / News article: The Average American can't Afford a New Car - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Feb 27 2013, 1:02 PM

The average American household can’t afford to purchase an average-priced new car according to research from Interest.com.

Out of 25 cities studied, only median-income citizens in Washington D.C. can afford an average new car at $31,940.

“What this research indicates, more than anything, is that a lot of Americans are spending too much money on their cars,” Mike Sante, managing editor of Interest.com said.

To come up with this information, Interest.com found the average household gross income of 25 major metropolitan areas in the U.S.

Then, based on a formula of a 20 percent down payment, financing lasting no longer than four years, and principal, interest and insurance not exceeding ten percent of a household’s overall income, discovered how many average Americans can afford to buy a new car,the average price of which was $30,550 in 2012, according to True Car. At that price, the monthly payment would be approximately $601.

On the bottom of the list sits Tampa, Fla., where the average citizen can only afford a $282 monthly payment and a $14, 516 car, quite a ways off from the $601 required. That is just enough to cover a base model subcompact, and not much more. Coming up in the middle is Chicago, where the average household can afford to buy a $20,616 car, with a maximum monthly payment of $417. That’s enough to buy a Honda Civic, and not much more.

See below for a full breakdown of how much each city can afford to spend on a new car:

Washington, D.C.
Affordable Purchase Price: $31,940
Maximum Monthly Payment: $628

San Francisco
Affordable Purchase Price: $26,786
Maximum Monthly Payment: $537

Boston
Affordable Purchase Price: $26,025
Maximum Monthly Payment: $507

Baltimore
Affordable Purchase Price: $24,079
Maximum Monthly Payment: $468

Minneapolis
Affordable Purchase Price: $24,042
Maximum Monthly Payment: $470

Seattle
Affordable Purchase Price: $22,963
Maximum Monthly Payment: $466

Portland
Affordable Purchase Price: $21,985
Maximum Monthly Payment: $397

Denver
Affordable Purchase Price: $21,835
Maximum Monthly Payment: $432

San Diego
Affordable Purchase Price: $21,781
Maximum Monthly Payment: $433

New York City
Affordable Purchase Price: $21,464
Maximum Monthly Payment: $431

Philadelphia
Affordable Purchase Price: $21,069
Maximum Monthly Payment: $419

Chicago
Affordable Purchase Price: $20,616
Maximum Monthly Payment: $417

Los Angeles
Affordable Purchase Price: $20,385
Maximum Monthly Payment: $410

Sacramento
Affordable Purchase Price: $19,965
Maximum Monthly Payment: $397

Dallas
Affordable Purchase Price: $19,959
Maximum Monthly Payment: $389

Houston
Affordable Purchase Price: $19,811
Maximum Monthly Payment: $386

Milwaukee
Affordable Purchase Price: $19,297
Maximum Monthly Payment: $373

Atlanta
Affordable Purchase Price: $19,122
Maximum Monthly Payment: $376

St. Louis
Affordable Purchase Price: $18,550
Maximum Monthly Payment: $371

Pittsburgh
Affordable Purchase Price: $17,298
Maximum Monthly Payment: $340

Phoenix
Affordable Purchase Price: $17,243
Maximum Monthly Payment: $348

San Antonio
Affordable Purchase Price: $17,137
Maximum Monthly Payment: $334

Detroit
Affordable Purchase Price: $17,093
Maximum Monthly Payment: $332

Miami
Affordable Purchase Price: $15,188
Maximum Monthly Payment: $295

Tampa
Affordable Purchase Price: $14,516
Maximum Monthly Payment: $282

 

  • http://dbcooper.livejournal.com P.F. Bruns

    Wow! I live in Tampa, and I’m paying just above the average.

  • Chmeeee

    Wow, so you’re just basically using bad statistics to make an alarmist article?  You’re comparing the median income to the average car price; anybody could tell you that you need to use the median for both statistics for your math to have any validity.

    Also, your assumptions of a four year loan are also way out whack given that the average new car loan is five years, but I guess we’re not worried about the facts here.

  • John Smith

    On barely 28K a year, according to the 65% rule that means I can afford only a $15K new car, and that includes taxes, fees, license. What year is this, anyway? 1991? LOL. No freaken’ way. As long as gas is hovering at the comical $4.00 a gallon mark, there’s no way I’m going to even apply for credit to buy a car. It’s insane on my salary. 90% of new car applicants get denied anyway, last I heard. The price of new cars has passed my cost of living raises, and along with my food and housing costs, let those new cars sit on the lot unsold.

  • Midwest Confusion

    My family earsn 150K in the Midwest. I literally laugh when I look at new car prices. I just left a Ford Dealer and a nice truck is about 50,000. Who in the world buys this vehicle?? I am at the top of the food chain at my work place, and I would ot even considerate it. Wasnt Fords plan that the average worker could buy their products!! I guess thats out the window