Should you buy or lease?

By Kristen Miranda - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Smart shoppers know that the end of the year is usually prime time to get a new car.  Dealers are trying to get those 2010 models out the door and they're willing to bargain.

However, some people are saying "see-ya" to buying and they're turning back to leasing, for good reason.

Lease prices are based on that car's future value.

"Since used cars are really limited out there the values are sky high making leasing more affordable than ever," said Erick Wicklund, the General Manager at Infiniti of Charlotte.

He adds, you're paying for the amount by which a vehicles value depreciates while you're driving it which in a tight used car market, isn't much.

Leasing at that particular Infiniti dealership is up 100% over last year at this time.

Montly payments are hundreds of dollars less when leasing than buying.

There are people, though, for whom leasing is not an option.

"If you put on a ton of miles and you don't deduct them for your business then leasing isn't for you," Wicklund said.

Its also not for you if you have lower than average credit and if you plan to keep the leased car longer than 39 months.

It is a good idea if you can keep your miles down and you like a new car every few years.

As appealing as the low prices are it is important to be honest about your driving habits and needs.

Our car experts tell us while the economy is still recovering they expect people to continue to hold on to their cars.  That keeps the used car market tight which means leasing should be a good deal for at least another two years.