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Americans Are Financing Cars At Record High Prices Because Credit Is Cheap Again

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This probably won't end well. Remember the housing bubble?

There's absolutely no question that owning a car is essential today in the United States. In most parts of the country, public transportation isn't sufficient enough to get mass numbers of commuters from home to work and back. Most of America isn't like New York City or Chicago. So the obvious solution is to drive and that, obviously, requires car ownership, and automakers and dealerships are making it all too easy to finance.

Automotive News is reporting some data gathered by Experian Automotive, which found that the average amount financed for a new car reached a record $28,381 in the fourth quarter of 2014. Sound like a lot of dough? It is. That amount is actually an increase of $950 from the same quarter in 2013, and a $582 rise from that time in 2012. What's more, the average new-vehicle monthly payment also hit a record high at the end of last year, $482. That's up from $471 the year prior. You'd be correct to note these numbers apply towards new cars, but used vehicle loans have also increased.

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For example, in the third quarter of 2014, the average used car loan was $18,576, up from $18,411 from the same time in 2013. Could relatively easy car financing spell future economic trouble? Possibly, but a car loan is easier to repay than a home mortgage. Then again, debt is debt.