New Bern residents as a whole are bogged down with car payments more than just about everyone — not only the 19th worst debt-to-income ratio in North Carolina, but among the worst in the nation.

According to a WalletHub study, New Bern is in the 91st percentile when comparing its median auto loan debt to income ratio, which is 47 percent.

Kinston and Jacksonville did even worse (see spreadsheet below).

Morrisville, N.C., with a debt-to-income ratio of 18 percent, had a percentile of 9 and ranked first in the state.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. auto sales had a very unfortunate year in 2020, down around 15 percent from 2019. Luckily, early forecasts predict that the market will bounce back somewhat it 2021, with a growth of around 7 percent to 10 percent compared to 2020. Typically, we see an increase in auto purchases after tax season, especially on Presidents’ Day weekend, though with the pandemic still raging across the U.S., this period may be less profitable than usual.

Despite the lackluster auto market last year, consumer auto debt still increased. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s latest report on household indebtedness, auto-loan balances have grown over the past nine years, increasing by another $17 billion in Q3 2020.

But not every city is alike. In order to determine where Americans overspend on their set of wheels, WalletHub compared the median auto-loan balance of more than 2,500 U.S. cities. Prior to shopping for a new vehicle, we recommend prospective car buyers check their credit scores for free on WalletHub and use a Car Payment Calculator to determine an auto-loan payment and timeline they can afford.

Auto Financing Report:

  • Interest rates for new cars are at one of their lowest points in three years, with the average new-car loan today charging 14 percent less interest than the average used-car loan.
  • Compared with buyers who have excellent credit, those with fair credit will spend about five times more, or about $5,977, in interest over the life of a five-year, $20,000 loan when financing a vehicle. 
  • The best options for financing a new car include car manufacturers (rates at 62 percent below average) and credit unions (rates at 24 percent below average). Secondary options include national banks (rates at 19 percent above average) and community and small banks (rates at 33 percent above average). 
  • Car manufacturers continue to lack transparency when it comes to leasing offers, with the average automaker receiving a WalletHub Transparency Score of 4.6 out of 10. 

North Carolina rankings

Percentile rankCityMedian auto loan debtIncomeDebt-to-income ratio
98Lexington, NC$16,001.00$28,733.0056%
97Henderson, NC$16,823.00$30,799.0055%
97Oxford, NC$18,840.00$35,022.0054%
96Jacksonville, NC$17,337.00$33,127.0052%
96Lumberton, NC$18,907.00$36,372.0052%
96Dunn, NC$17,213.00$33,339.0052%
95Goldsboro, NC$16,507.00$32,162.0051%
95Eden, NC$16,439.00$32,074.0051%
95Clinton, NC$18,768.00$36,885.0051%
94Kinston, NC$16,174.00$32,285.0050%
94Roxboro, NC$15,883.00$31,786.0050%
94Elizabeth City, NC$17,780.00$35,817.0050%
93Hope Mills, NC$19,516.00$39,570.0049%
93Washington, NC$17,635.00$35,864.0049%
93Rockingham, NC$17,085.00$34,980.0049%
93Morganton, NC$16,744.00$34,643.0048%
93Kings Mountain, NC$17,105.00$35,529.0048%
92Sanford, NC$17,394.00$36,431.0048%
91New Bern, NC$17,174.00$36,366.0047%
90Fayetteville, NC$17,065.00$36,758.0046%
90Lincolnton, NC$16,653.00$35,995.0046%
88Wilson, NC$17,232.00$38,001.0045%
88Marion, NC$15,915.00$35,105.0045%
86Asheboro, NC$15,098.00$33,844.0045%
86Monroe, NC$16,964.00$38,163.0044%
86Shelby, NC$16,476.00$37,112.0044%
86Statesville, NC$15,600.00$35,161.0044%
85Thomasville, NC$16,465.00$37,450.0044%
85Lenoir, NC$15,405.00$35,214.0044%
84Roanoke Rapids, NC$16,191.00$37,500.0043%
82Burlington, NC$15,650.00$36,803.0043%
82Newton, NC$16,173.00$38,086.0042%
82Waynesville, NC$16,845.00$39,989.0042%
81Taylorsville, NC$14,803.00$35,326.0042%
81Reidsville, NC$14,966.00$35,846.0042%
80Albemarle, NC$16,067.00$38,864.0041%
80Camden, NJ$13,192.00$31,910.0041%
79Laurinburg, NC$15,019.00$36,447.0041%
79Clayton, NC$17,180.00$41,695.0041%
77Graham, NC$15,234.00$37,893.0040%
77Mount Airy, NC$15,812.00$39,495.0040%
76Mocksville, NC$15,497.00$38,813.0040%
74Greenville, NC$15,876.00$40,533.0039%
74Hickory, NC$15,173.00$38,769.0039%
73Salisbury, NC$15,480.00$39,974.0039%
73Kannapolis, NC$15,728.00$40,639.0039%
71Gastonia, NC$15,132.00$40,141.0038%
68Hendersonville, NC$14,788.00$40,148.0037%
63Winterville, NC$18,770.00$52,966.0035%
63Winston-Salem, NC$14,318.00$40,490.0035%
62Conover, NC$14,782.00$42,094.0035%
61High Point, NC$14,374.00$41,168.0035%
58Wilmington, NC$14,671.00$42,736.0034%
58Indian Trail, NC$18,082.00$52,926.0034%
56Greensboro, NC$13,986.00$41,284.0034%
56Garner, NC$16,149.00$48,005.0034%
54Kernersville, NC$14,456.00$43,691.0033%
53Concord, NC$16,064.00$48,829.0033%
50Asheville, NC$12,693.00$39,778.0032%
48Hillsborough, NC$16,610.00$52,664.0032%
48Knightdale, NC$15,997.00$50,979.0031%
47Mooresville, NC$16,573.00$53,344.0031%
45Charlotte, NC$14,858.00$48,519.0031%
44Fuquay-Varina, NC$16,289.00$53,287.0031%
44Leland, NC$15,383.00$50,551.0030%
43Durham, NC$14,601.00$48,416.0030%
41Mebane, NC$14,862.00$50,147.0030%
40Raleigh, NC$14,687.00$49,845.0029%
36Clemmons, NC$15,214.00$53,534.0028%
29Wake Forest, NC$15,931.00$61,323.0026%
27Waxhaw, NC$18,226.00$71,756.0025%
25Matthews, NC$14,589.00$59,311.0025%
19Huntersville, NC$16,450.00$72,893.0023%
19Chapel Hill, NC$14,061.00$63,038.0022%
17Holly Springs, NC$16,121.00$74,710.0022%
16Cornelius, NC$15,399.00$71,980.0021%
15Apex, NC$16,129.00$76,636.0021%
10Cary, NC$14,319.00$77,353.0019%
9Morrisville, NC$13,837.00$78,068.0018%
Source: WalletHub

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