Few things are more satisfying than driving your brand-new car – until you realize that it lost value immediately after you left the dealership. Thanks to depreciation, it’s possible for a car to lose over 20% of its starting value within the first year. According to CARFAX data, cars can lose over 10% of their value after the first month.
During the early stages of car ownership, it’s easy for a car loan to be underwater – meaning that you owe more on the loan than the current value of the car. With a down payment of 20% or less, you’re very likely to have an underwater period.
If all goes well, it’s okay to be underwater. You’ll continue to make payments and the car’s value should overtake the remaining loan balance as the balance decreases. Early payments are mostly dedicated to interest and not principal – so it takes time to go from negative to positive equity. As long as you hold onto the car long enough, you should be fine.
What happens when all …