Summary

  • New car affordability has dropped 13.3% from August 2019 to August 2022; used car affordability has dropped 26.7% based on iSeeCars Car Affordability Index
  • Used cars which had been affordable in 2019 but aren’t in 2022 include several popular models such as the Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Toyota Camry, and many others
  • New cars that were affordable in 2019 but aren't in 2022 include the Nissan Frontier, Chrysler 300, Jeep Cherokee, and Kia Sorento
Car prices have increased as a result of changes in consumer behavior, supply chain issues, and other effects of the pandemic; however, household incomes and wage growth have not kept pace. According to the latest iSeeCars.com analysis, these price increases have resulted in drops in car affordability: new car affordability has dropped 13.3% from August 2019 to August 2022, while used car affordability has dropped 26.7% over the same period. This has priced many popular models out of reach for the average consumer, forcing buyers to use longer loan terms with less money down, or simply choose an older, less desirable vehicle.

iSeeCars analyzed new and used car affordability over time by calculating its Car Affordability Index, which compares median household income to an idealized income for financing a car. An index value of 100 suggests household income is exactly equal to the idealized income for a car purchase. Values above 100 indicate household income is above the idealized income and therefore cars are affordable; similarly values below 100 suggest actual income is less than the idealized income, meaning cars are unaffordable. For example, an index value of 125 means household income is 25 percent more than the idealized income, and an index value of 75 means household income is 25 percent less. The idealized income is based on typical car loan rates and terms (60 months for new cars and 36 for used cars), as well as an assumption that car payments should be no more than 10 percent of a household’s annual income.

“Due to supply chain shortages and increased demand, the rising prices of new and used cars have outpaced income growth,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “From August of 2019, well before the pandemic lockdowns started, to August of 2022, new car prices increased by almost 29 percent, and three-year-old used car prices increased by 52 percent, but incomes increased by only 13%. People still need to replace their vehicles, so the resulting drop in affordability means shoppers are either taking longer loan terms and paying higher interest rates, putting down less money for a down payment, or even forgoing the kind of car they originally wanted for a lower cost model in order to make ends meet.”

Used Car Affordability

iSeeCars also analyzed the affordability of three-year-old used cars , beginning in April 2019 through August 2022. The iSeeCars Car Affordability Index averaged an almost perfect 99.5 in 2019, dropping to averages of 93.4 in 2020, 81.8 in 2021, and finally 72.0 in 2022. “Used cars were affordable in 2019, but affordability began dropping after the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns, around March of 2020. The drop in affordability accelerated in 2021,” said Brauer. “This coincides with higher used car prices and the lack of used car inventory due to the decrease in new vehicle production, which ultimately led to used car shoppers paying more for their desired vehicles.”

Used Cars that are No Longer Affordable

Using its Car Affordability Index, iSeeCars calculated the pricing threshold for affordable cars and analyzed three-year-old used cars that had been affordable between April and December 2019 but were no longer affordable from January to August 2022. The list includes some of the most popular models, such as the Toyota Camry and RAV4, the Honda Accord and CR-V, and the Subaru Forester and Outback. Here are the 33 vehicles that fell out of affordability over the past three years, in descending order of their used car price in August 2022.

Used Cars That Are No Longer Affordable
Rank Vehicle % Above Affordability $ over Aug 2019 Price 3yo Used Car Price Aug 2022
1 Toyota Avalon 37.6% $13,181 $35,137
2 Chevrolet Traverse 36.1% $12,416 $34,751
3 Volvo S60 35.5% $14,708 $34,615
4 Ford Mustang 31.2% $11.984 $33,500
5 Acura TLX 26.7% $11,287 $32,360
6 Toyota Prius 25.6% $12,489 $32,090
7 Toyota RAV4 25.5% $11,522 $32,056
8 MINI Convertible 24.4% $10,100 $31,779
9 MINI Countryman 22.6% $11,748 $31,318
10 Volkswagen Golf GTI 20.9% $11,041 $30,868
11 Nissan Maxima 19.6% $9,850 $30,547
12 Ford Edge 19.1% $8,051 $30,423
13 Honda CR-V 18.2% $10,594 $30,193
14 MINI Clubman 18.0% $11,596 $30,145
15 Audi A3 17.7% $10,980 $30,059
16 Subaru Outback 17.5% $8,366 $30,018
17 Subaru Forester 16.5% $10,016 $29,759
18 Nissan Frontier 13.3% $8,071 $28,943
19 Honda Accord 12.9% $11,386 $28,847
20 Mazda CX-5 11.4% $9,141 $28,464
21 Nissan Pathfinder 11.0% $6,889 $28,358
22 Subaru Crosstrek 9.3% $7,674 $27,916
23 GMC Terrain 8.8% $9,062 $27,793
24 MINI Hardtop 2 Door 8.55 $10,469 $27,708
25 Acura ILX $8.3% $10,004 $27,655
26 Hyundai Santa Fe 7.3% $7,000 $27,406
27 Toyota Camry 7.3% $10,856 $27,404
28 MINI Hardtop 4 Door 7.3% $9,571 $27,403
29 Volkswagen Tiguan 6.6% $11,089 $27,238
30 Chrysler 300 6.2% $7,017 $27,137
31 Kia Sorento 5.8% $8,228 $27,013
32 Jeep Cherokee 5.4% $7,823 $26,927
33 Jeep Compass 0.2% $9,899 $25,605
National 2022 Affordable 3yo Used Car Price $25,542

Additional high-volume models priced above iSeeCars’ affordability standard include the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Edge, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota Prius. All of these vehicles were popular, high-volume new cars, which should result in sufficient used car supply and accessible pricing for most consumers. But the drop in new-car production has caused used car demand, and prices, to rise at an unprecedented rate.

“This is yet another indicator of how drastically prices have shifted on used cars in recent years. When you have a used Toyota RAV4’s price going from $20,534 to $32,090 in 3 years, that’s a clear indicator of affordability lost,” said Brauer.

New Car Affordability

New Cars that are No Longer Affordable

Using its Car Affordability Index, iSeeCars calculated the pricing threshold for affordable cars and analyzed new cars that were affordable between April and December 2019, before the pandemic, and were no longer affordable as of January to August 2022. Four models met these criteria.

New Cars That Are No Longer Affordable –  iSeeCars Study
Rank Vehicle % Above Affordability $ over Aug 2019 Price New Car Price Aug 2022
1 Nissan Frontier 10.0% $12,687 $39,833
2 Chrysler 300 9.8% $9,621 $39,767
3 Kia Sorento 9.2% $9,094 $39,570
4 Jeep Cherokee 7.8% $9,714 $39,030
National Affordable New Car Price $36,221

New and Used Car Affordability By State

iSeeCars calculated its Affordability Index for each state to determine which states had the biggest changes in affordability between August 2019 and August 2022 for both new and used cars.
New Car Affordability By State
Rank State Affordability Index August 2019 Affordability Index August 2022 % Change in Affordability
1 Alaska 96.17 77.53 -19.4%
2 Utah 97.04 78.81 -18.8%
3 Rhode Island 94.25 78.21 -17.0%
4 Maryland 121.95 102.24 -16.2%
5 Delaware 86.69 74.28 -14.3%
6 Wisconsin 83.79 72.59 -13.4%
7 North Dakota 75.12 65.17 -13.2%
8 Mississippi 60.55 52.62 -13.1%
9 Arkansas 62.70 54.59 -12.9%
10 Oklahoma 67.09 58.46 -12.9%
11 Virginia 103.01 90.23 -12.4%
12 Kentucky 69.10 60.64 -12.2%
13 Missouri 77.33 68.57 -11.3%
14 Indiana 78.34 69.62 -11.1%
15 Nevada 82.11 73.07 -11.0%
16 Ohio 80.10 71.52 -10.7%
17 Texas 79.18 70.81 -10.6%
18 Wyoming 72.98 65.55 -10.2%
19 New York 92.50 83.37 -9.9%
20 Illinois 90.00 81.30 -9.7%
21 New Mexico 67.64 61.14 -9.6%
22 Connecticut 104.20 94.28 -9.5%
23 Alabama 65.88 59.81 -9.2%
24 Minnesota 94.80 86.12 -9.2%
25 Kansas 75.76 69.40 -8.4%
26 Florida 80.28 73.67 -8.2%
27 Nebraska 77.04 70.88 -8.0%
28 Louisiana 61.18 56.48 -7.7%
29 Hawaii 113.73 105.07 -7.6%
30 Tennessee 70.52 65.44 -7.2%
31 South Carolina 70.25 65.24 -7.1%
32 Michigan 77.15 71.75 -7.0%
33 Massachusetts 113.03 105.17 -7.0%
34 Iowa 74.12 69.24 -6.6%
35 Pennsylvania 85.37 79.86 -6.5%
36 California 98.18 91.96 -6.3%
37 North Carolina 74.05 69.71 -5.9%
38 Georgia 77.49 72.96 -5.9%
39 Washington 98.79 93.31 -5.5%
40 Arizona 80.50 76.05 -5.5%
41 New Jersey 105.42 100.02 -5.1%
42 South Dakota 68.27 65.44 -4.1%
43 Montana 64.69 62.15 -3.9%
44 Maine 76.36 73.83 -3.3%
45 Vermont 88.11 85.24 -3.3%
46 West Virginia 62.29 60.31 -3.2%
47 Colorado 89.47 86.64 -3.2%
48 Idaho 68.26 66.64 -2.4%
49 Oregon 78.94 77.07 -2.4%
50 New Hampshire 101.60 102.61 1.0%
For new cars, Alaska had the greatest change in affordability with new cars being 19.4 percent less affordable in 2022 compared to 2019. New Hampshire is the only state where new cars have become more affordable and had a 1 percent increase in affordability.
Used Car Affordability By State
Rank State Affordability Index August 2019 Affordability Index August 2022 % Change in Affordability
1 North Dakota 90.10 62.12 -31.1%
2 Utah 113.88 80.17 -29.6%
3 Kansas 91.51 64.48 -29.5%
4 Alaska 101.30 71.49 -29.4%
5 Connecticut 123.94 88.62 -28.5%
6 New Mexico 75.05 54.53 -27.3%
7 Wyoming 74.90 55.41 -26.0%
8 Minnesota 108.37 80.32 -25.9%
9 Maryland 132.67 98.37 -25.9%
10 Nebraska 90.94 67.57 -25.7%
11 Kentucky 78.42 58.41 -25.5%
12 Maine 92.07 68.88 -25.2%
13 Rhode Island 108.65 81.50 -25.0%
14 Virginia 113.33 85.07 -24.9%
15 Ohio 92.97 70.25 -24.4%
16 Alabama 75.05 56.82 -24.3%
17 Massachusetts 124.37 94.40 -24.1%
18 Illinois 97.86 74.31 -24.1%
19 Hawaii 114.56 87.30 -23.8%
20 Wisconsin 94.18 71.79 -23.8%
21 Delaware 100.58 76.86 -23.6%
22 Florida 87.32 66.90 -23.4%
23 North Carolina 83.98 64.57 -23.1%
24 Iowa 88.71 68.27 -23.0%
25 South Carolina 80.00 61.58 -23.0%
26 New York 105.52 81.43 -22.8%
27 Nevada 89.38 69.05 -22.7%
28 Texas 87.23 67.50 -22.6%
29 Louisiana 70.50 54.64 -22.5%
30 South Dakota 80.77 62.61 -22.5%
31 New Jersey 124.86 96.99 -22.3%
32 Arkansas 68.13 53.02 -22.2%
33 California 113.03 87.97 -22.2%
34 Georgia 86.91 67.84 -21.9%
35 Mississippi 65.52 51.17 -21.9%
36 Colorado 103.27 80.86 -21.7%
37 Pennsylvania 97.10 76.25 -21.5%
38 Oklahoma 76.17 59.86 -21.4%
39 Missouri 83.80 65.92 -21.3%
40 West Virginia 69.09 54.65 -20.9%
41 Washington 104.06 82.41 -20.8%
42 Indiana 86.93 68.90 -20.7%
43 Montana 71.48 56.71 -20.7%
44 Tennessee 79.41 63.04 -20.6%
45 Michigan 89.36 71.80 -19.7%
46 Arizona 90.06 72.71 -19.3%
47 New Hampshire 115.86 96.05 -17.1%
48 Vermont 96.31 80.73 -16.2%
49 Idaho 72.74 62.60 -14.0%
50 Oregon 86.18 74.85 -13.1%
For used cars, North Dakota had the greatest drop in affordability, with used cars being 31.1 percent less affordable. Oregon had the lowest drop in affordability at 13.1 percent.

New and Used Car Affordability By Metro Area

iSeeCars calculated the Affordability Index for the top 50 most populous metropolitan areas to determine which states had the biggest changes in affordability between August 2019 and August 2022 for both new and used cars.
New Car Affordability By Metro Area
Rank State Affordability Index August 2019 Affordability Index August 2022 % Change in Affordability
1 Salt Lake City, UT 106.21 82.78 -22.1%
2 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 77.7 62.4 -19.7%
3 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 83.86 68.97 -17.8%
4 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 86.58 71.68 -17.2%
5 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 95.45 79.18 -17.0%
6 Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI 89.86 74.93 -16.6%
7 Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 101.85 85.27 -16.3%
8 Richmond, VA 100.49 84.25 -16.2%
9 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 142.49 119.5 -16.1%
10 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 73.64 62.49 -15.1%
11 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 104.47 88.86 -14.9%
12 Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 108.51 92.49 -14.8%
13 Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT 116.34 100.1 -14.0%
14 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 83.27 71.93 -13.6%
15 Kansas City, MO-KS 91.68 79.73 -13.0%
16 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 105.28 92.07 -12.5%
17 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 114.76 100.61 -12.3%
18 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 101.07 88.74 -12.2%
19 St. Louis, MO-IL 89.77 79 -12.0%
20 Cleveland-Elyria, OH 79.13 69.98 -11.6%
21 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 89.65 79.35 -11.5%
22 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 85.45 76.46 -10.5%
23 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 87.44 78.38 -10.4%
24 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 161.73 145.19 -10.2%
25 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 82.83 74.79 -9.7%
26 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 109.3 98.7 -9.7%
27 Columbus, OH 90.94 82.13 -9.7%
28 Jacksonville, FL 85.6 77.32 -9.7%
29 Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN 86.96 78.87 -9.3%
30 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 91.33 83.3 -8.8%
31 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 98.54 90.21 -8.5%
32 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 90.47 82.92 -8.3%
33 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 119.49 109.8 -8.1%
34 Oklahoma City, OK 71.78 65.97 -8.1%
35 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 83.58 76.83 -8.1%
36 San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 132.46 122.43 -7.6%
37 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 90.86 84.56 -6.9%
38 Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 87.33 81.46 -6.7%
39 Pittsburgh, PA 83.2 78.1 -6.1%
40 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 79.08 74.51 -5.8%
41 Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY 81.23 76.67 -5.6%
42 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 95.75 90.72 -5.3%
43 Raleigh-Cary, NC 100.5 95.8 -4.7%
44 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 121.97 116.47 -4.5%
45 Rochester, NY 84.31 81.2 -3.7%
46 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 98.72 95.26 -3.5%
47 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 81.5 78.8 -3.3%
48 San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA 105.18 101.73 -3.3%
49 Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA 88.12 88.78 0.7%
50 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 86.3 88.46 2.5%
For new cars, the Salt Lake City, Utah metro area had the greatest change in affordability with new cars being 22.1 percent less affordable in August 2022 compared to 2019. The Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, California metro area had the greatest increase in affordability at 2.5 percent.  
Used Car Affordability By Metro Area
Rank State Affordability Index August 2019 Affordability Index August 20022 % Change in Affordability
1 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 142.49 112.12 -28.6%
2 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN 83.86 67.69 -28.6%
3 Salt Lake City, UT 106.21 85.51 -28.2%
4 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 79.08 60.93 -27.9%
5 Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT 116.34 91.15 -27.8%
6 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD 114.76 94.4 -27.6%
7 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 90.47 79.37 -26.9%
8 Columbus, OH 90.94 79.53 -26.7%
9 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN 91.33 77.07 -26.3%
10 Memphis, TN-MS-AR 77.7 60.84 -25.9%
11 Richmond, VA 100.49 80.51 -25.8%
12 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 83.27 67.47 -25.4%
13 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 109.3 91.72 -25.3%
14 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 95.45 72.79 -25.0%
15 Providence-Warwick, RI-MA 101.85 82.6 -24.9%
16 Kansas City, MO-KS 91.68 78.55 -24.8%
17 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 86.58 68.71 -24.6%
18 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 105.28 88.51 -24.6%
19 Raleigh-Cary, NC 100.5 89.66 -24.3%
20 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH 121.97 103.65 -24.2%
21 Cleveland-Elyria, OH 79.13 66.51 -23.7%
22 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 101.07 80.85 -23.7%
23 San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 132.46 110.69 -23.6%
24 Jacksonville, FL 85.6 74.5 -23.3%
25 Pittsburgh, PA 83.2 72.62 -23.0%
26 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 98.54 86.42 -22.8%
27 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 87.44 73.9 -22.7%
28 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 119.49 94.99 -22.6%
29 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 104.47 83.14 -22.3%
30 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 89.65 73.39 -22.0%
31 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta, GA 90.86 78.77 -21.8%
32 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 161.73 141.72 -21.7%
33 Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI 89.86 75.52 -21.6%
34 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 98.72 89.81 -21.3%
35 Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 108.51 84.5 -21.3%
36 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI 83.58 77.08 -21.1%
37 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 85.45 74.05 -20.9%
38 Rochester, NY 84.31 76.08 -20.4%
39 Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN 86.96 76.27 -20.1%
40 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 82.83 69.97 -19.8%
41 Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 87.33 78.01 -19.7%
42 New Orleans-Metairie, LA 73.64 63.49 -19.5%
43 Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA 88.12 88.89 -19.3%
44 St. Louis, MO-IL 89.77 76.35 -18.7%
45 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 86.3 84.37 -18.2%
46 Buffalo-Cheektowaga, NY 81.23 75.69 -17.7%
47 San Diego-Chula Vista-Carlsbad, CA 105.18 94.52 -17.6%
48 Oklahoma City, OK 71.78 70.6 -16.9%
49 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 95.75 86.42 -16.1%
50 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 81.5 77.05 -15.2%
For used cars, the Washington, D.C. metro area had the greatest drop in affordability, with used cars being 28.6 percent less affordable. The Indianapolis, IN metro area had the smallest drop in affordability at 15.2 percent.

“The rise in new and used car prices has led to a drop in vehicle affordability for consumers,” said Brauer. “That means it’s more important than ever for shoppers to choose vehicles that fit their budget. And while it may be tempting to take out a longer loan to minimize monthly payments, or to make a smaller down payment, in this high-interest environment buyers will end up paying even more in the long run.”

MethodologyiSeeCars calculated its Car Affordability Index for new and used cars monthly from April 2019 to August 2022. The Car Affordability Index was calculated as the ratio between median household income (obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) one-year estimates and projected using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Earnings reports) and an idealized income for car payments, based on new cars’ and three-year-old used cars’ pricing. An index of 100 means the idealized income for car payments exactly matches household income; values above 100 mean household income is greater than the idealized income for car payments, while values below 100 mean household income is less than the idealized income. Car payments were estimated using Bankrate.com’s published auto loan interest rates and loan terms, and the idealized household income was estimated assuming car payments should be no more than 10% of a household’s annual income. The iSeeCars Car Affordability Index was calculated for new and three-year-old used cars both nationally, by state, and by the Census Bureau’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs).

About iSeeCars.com:

iSeeCars.com is a car search engine that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report and Best Cars rankings. iSeeCars.com has saved users over $354 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.