Average New-Vehicle Price Falls for First Month in Five

People don't tend to venture out to dealerships in January unless they really need a vehicle.

Ford dealership
Frank Duenzl—Frank Duenzl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Buying a new vehicle just got less expensive, thanks to a seasonal trend that has the average sticker price dipping for the first time in five months.

Analysts at Edmunds estimate the average transaction price of a new vehicle fell $380 to $36,115 in January, declining from the record high of $36,495 set in December.

"In January, you're only buying a car if you really need one," Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at Edmunds told the Drive

People tend not to venture out to dealerships during a month lacking in three-day weekends and often plagued by snow, cold and other winter weather, she explained. In addition, end-of-the-year incentives to clear vehicles off of lots tend to be in shorter supply, Caldwell added. 

"As a result you typically see a drop in prices from December to January," she said.

Still, average transaction prices for new vehicles are expected to remain near record levels, according to Edmunds, which estimates the average transaction price of a new vehicle to be three percent higher in January compared to January 2017.

The average down payment on a new car is also estimated to drop slightly to $3,914 in January, but is still up by $302 compared to January 2016 and $366 higher than five years ago, according to Edmunds.