Car leasing is more popular than ever. According to a recent report by Experian Automotive, new-car leasing is up 12.5 percent, the highest level since the firm began tracking the data it in 2006. Currently, 27.5 percent of all new vehicles financed are done so via leasing, up from 24.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012.
The popularity of leasing a car versus buying a new car has grown gradually, thanks to an ever-growing group of consumers who see it as a way to drive a more expensive car while avoiding a higher monthly car payment. Leasing also can be a good option for those who prefer to drive a new car every couple of years or for someone whose driving needs may change more quickly than the typical five-year term of a new-car loan.
Lease-trading service Swapalease.com noted that the monthly payments for car leases on popular vehicles are lower than last year. For example, monthly car lease payments on the Honda Civic averaged $244.55 in May, a 20.9 percent drop from prices a year ago, while the Lexus IS250 had an average monthly payment of $471.87, a 15.4 percent drop from last year.
If you are ready to buy a new car, read "4 factors to consider in car leasing" to help determine if leasing a car is right for you.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.