Ever wonder about the cheapest state to buy a car? What about the cheapest city? Maybe you have moved to a new state for a job or to be closer to family. Knowing what to expect when it comes to affording a car can make life just a little more manageable.
We conducted a study in order to find the best state to buy a car and ranked the top cities in the country. Along the way, we factored in the national average sale price, median incomes, taxes, insurance and car loan interest rates.
Here is our rundown of the best cities (and states) for car buyers:
10. Portland, Oregon
- Affordable car price: $23,209 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $434
- Median income: $65,766
In addition to these figures, the state of Oregon sports zero percent vehicle sales tax. That’s reason enough for us to consider Oregon one of the cheapest states to buy a car. Especially if you’re living in Portland, Oregon where the car culture is still very much alive.
9. Chicago, Illinois
- Affordable car price: $23,386 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $452
- Median income: $65,048
Chicago, Illinois comes in at the ninth spot in our list, but you may want to consider just where you’ll be living. Many residents will tell you they have never needed a car to get around, thanks to the quality of public transportation, and you might just find yourself in a similar situation.
8. San Diego, California
Affordable car price: $23,440 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $457
- Median income: $69,340
While some might not consider California to be the absolute best state to buy a car, its city of San Diego still makes the list. Just be aware that the state of California sports some of the highest sales tax in the country. Add, on top of that, any county-specific taxes and you’ll definitely want to make sure you do some serious budgeting.
7. Denver, Colorado
- Affordable car price: $24,485 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $481
- Median income: $72,391
When you’re looking at purchasing a car in Denver, Colorado, remember to budget for more than the price of the car. As with some other states, there is a sales tax to contend with, but that’s not all. Layers of taxation factor into Colorado vehicle purchases from specific regional percentages to an ownership tax.
6. Baltimore, Maryland
Affordable car price: $26,355 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $495
- Median income: $74,696
Baltimore comes in as our 6th cheapest city to buy a car and it’s not surprising. Compared to other cities in the country, Baltimore isn’t even in the Top 10 when it comes to most expensive cities to live in. That means people living in the area can have an easier time affording the purchase of a car than, say, Honolulu.
5. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Affordable car price: $26,606 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $502
- Median income: $73,138
When you purchase a car in Minneapolis-St. Paul, don’t forget to consider your county. While Minnesota is one of the cheapest states to buy a car, you still need to be wary of layered vehicle taxing in Minneapolis. Not only will you be charged a vehicle tax annually there’s also a “wheelage tax” to help fund local transportation projects in the following counties: Scott, Carver, Anoka, Dakota and Washington.
4. Seattle, Washington
- Affordable car price: $26,771 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $532
- Median income: $77,591
Next on our list is Seattle. It should be telling that Seattle makes up much of the automotive sales scene in the Evergreen State. Most Seattleites do pretty well when it comes to their household income put against the average monthly payments cited in the figure above. If you’re looking for one of the best states to buy a car (and one of the best cities), you can’t do too bad with Seattle, Washington.
3. Boston, Massachusetts
Affordable car price: $30,863 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $592
- Median income: $81,164
Boston, Massachusetts can be another one of those cities that might make you wonder why you should bother with a car. An extensive and easily accessible public transit system runs through the veins of this city. However, if you do decide to get a car, Boston makes our #3 spot in terms of sheer affordability and comparably lower vehicle taxes with regards to most cities in the country.
2. San Francisco, California
- Affordable car price: $32,286 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $631
- Median income: $91,174
We’re back to California, but we’re talking about San Francisco this time around. Much like San Diego, anyone looking to purchase a car in California will need to be aware of other taxes that could influence affordability. Your car dealer should be able to fill you in on specific county taxes and other applicable fees.
1. Washington, D.C.
Affordable car price: $37,223 (vs. national average $33,261)
- Monthly payment: $696
- Median income: $96,093
And we end our list with the nation’s capital. Washington D.C. is a bustling city and while the affordability price we arrived at well exceeds the national average, there are far higher rates that did not make it on this list. Also be aware that a 6 percent sales tax is charged on the MSRP of any new vehicle purchase. That’s something else to factor in when determining the best places to buy a car.
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