New-Car Sales Spike in Houston as Shoppers Quickly Replace Vehicles Destroyed by Harvey

New-Car Sales Spike in Houston as Shoppers Quickly Replace Vehicles Destroyed by Harvey

Shoppers show signs of pragmatism by putting more money down up front and financing less

SANTA MONICA, CA — October 03, 2017 — Houston-area shoppers who are buying replacement vehicles for those lost in Hurricane Harvey are being a bit more pragmatic, according to new automotive finance data from Edmunds. The average new-car down payment was $4,432 in Houston in September, up 18 percent compared to last month and up 24 percent compared to September of 2016. Additionally, the average monthly payment for a new car in Houston dropped to $571 in September, a 4 percent decline from September of last year and the lowest average monthly payment since July 2015. New-car sales in Houston spiked 109 percent in the three weeks immediately following the hurricane when compared to the three weeks before the storm hit.

"Car buyers in Houston tend to opt for pricier trucks and SUVs, so it's a positive sign to see buyers putting more down up front," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds executive director of industry analysis.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the country, automakers are still grappling to find the right way to trim excess inventory to make way for 2018 vehicles. Despite overall incentives reaching record levels, automakers are reticent to offer zero-percent financing deals. Similar to what Edmunds saw in August, in September only 10 percent of new-car loans had zero-percent financing, compared to 15 percent of loans in September of 2016.

"Even though automakers are being very aggressive with incentives, because interest rates are still relatively low, zero-percent financing just isn't the big draw that it used to be," Caldwell said. "Right now dealers are more apt to sweeten the deal through discounted leases or taking cash off of the purchase price, especially on 2017 models that are languishing on the lot."

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in the Edmunds Industry Center at

Houston New-Car Finance Data
September 2017 August 2017 September 2016
Term 69.96 69.61 69.47
Monthly Payment $571 $590 $593
Amount Financed $34,012 $34,839 $35,821
APR 5.60 5.81 4.90
Down Payment $4,442 $3,756 $3,594

U.S. New-Car Finance Data
September 2017 September 2016 September 2012
Term 69.36 69.09 66.25
Monthly Payment $511 $508 $461
Amount Financed $30,736 $30,886 $26,650
APR 4.83 4.30 4.05
Down Payment $3,817 $3,489 $3,357

U.S. Used-Car Finance Data
September 2017 September 2016 September 2012
Term 66.81 66.95 63.31
Monthly Payment $386 $380 $363
Amount Financed $21,380 $21,211 $18,976
APR 7.52 7.29 7.96
Down Payment $2,494 $2,353 $2,185

About Edmunds
Edmunds is the leading car information and shopping platform, helping millions of visitors each month find their perfect car. With products such as Edmunds Your Price, Your Lease and Used+, shoppers can buy smarter with instant, upfront prices for cars and trucks currently for sale at more than 13,000 dealer franchises across the U.S. Edmunds' in-house team of unbiased car-shopping experts provide industry-leading vehicle reviews and shopping tips, as well as welcome all car-shopping questions at our Help Center, via email at and on Twitter and Facebook. The company is regarded as one of America's best workplaces by Fortune and Great Place to Work. Edmunds is based in Santa Monica, California, and has a satellite office in downtown Detroit, Michigan.

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