Requisite Press reported Wednesday that it expects new-car prices to “stall” this year, perhaps offering price-conscious shoppers another reason to buy a new car.
This news comes off a record year for new cars sold in the U.S., with 2015 sales coming in at 17.5 million.
Requisite Press’ assertion stems from its December 2015 Auto Buyer's Affordability Index (ABAI) of 57.9 percent.
What does this number mean? Think of it this way — the index indicates that a median-income household can afford 57.98 percent of the average new-car price.
Though the ABIA reading fell from 59.0 percent on a monthly basis, the December reading is up nearly 13 percent year-over-year.
On an annual basis, the ABAI rose 6.6 points in 2015, from 51.3 percent to 57.9 percent.
The jump, according to Requisite Press, was helped in part by an increase in the median household income of more than $2,800 last year, made even more impactful because the average vehicle transaction price remained below peak 2014 levels throughout last year.
The company’s advice for customers? Shop around and approach dealers.
"New-car prices were essentially flat in 2015, and more of the same is expected this year," said Phil Kelton, president of Requisite Press. "Consumers will benefit from improving affordability, and can gain additional savings with this simple strategy — avoid third-party buying services, broadcast the sales opportunity to multiple dealers, and buy from the best."
The company said it expects downward pressure on new-car prices to increase this year.
“Market forces that kept a lid on prices last year — waning U.S. sales growth, increasing supply of nearly new vehicles, and rising interest rates—are expected to intensify this year. As a result, manufacturers will face increased pressure to compete on price,” the team at Requisite Press reported.