Lease vs. Buy

Should you lease or buy your car? Use this calculator to find out! We calculate your monthly payments and your total net cost. By comparing these amounts, you can determine which is the better value for you.

Your lease payment would be MONTHLY_PAYMENT compared with a LOAN_PAYMENT loan payment.

Your lease payment would be MONTHLY_PAYMENT compared with a LOAN_PAYMENT loan payment. This is based on a price of CAR_PRICE and a TERM month lease vs. a LOAN_TERM month loan. Details of your cost of leasing and cost of buying are shown below:
BuyLease
PriceCAR_PRICEPriceCAR_PRICE
Interest rateINTEREST_RATEInterest rateLEASE_INTEREST
Down paymentDOWN_PAYMENTDown paymentDOWN_PAYMENT
Other fees buyOTHER_FEES_BUYOther fees leaseOTHER_FEES_LEASE
Rate of depreciationRATE_OF_DEPRECIATIONResidual percentRESIDUAL_PERCENT
Sales taxSALES_TAXSecurity depositSECURITY_DEPOSIT
Loan amountLOAN_AMOUNT  
Loan paymentLOAN_PAYMENTLease paymentMONTHLY_PAYMENT

Total net cost of Buying and Leasing

The total cost of buying would be NET_COST_OF_PURCHASE vs. NET_COST_OF_LEASE for a lease. Please see the table below for a summary of how this was calculated. **GRAPH**
Net cost of buyingNet cost of leasing
Total loan payments + TOTAL_PAYMENTSTotal lease payments+ TOTAL_LEASE_PAYMENTS
Lost interest on buy option + LOST_INTEREST_ON_BUYLost interest on up front costs + LOST_INTEREST_ON_LEASE
Down payment + DOWN_PAYMENTUp front costs + TOTAL_UPFRONT_COSTS
Ending loan balance + ENDING_LOAN_BALANCE  
Market value after TERM months* - MARKET_VALUE_AT_END_OF_LOAN  
Net cost of purchase = NET_COST_OF_PURCHASENet cost of lease = NET_COST_OF_LEASE

*We assume that you sell your vehicle at the estimated market value at the end of the lease term.

Lease vs. Buy Definitions

Purchase price
Total purchase price. Price should be after any manufacturer's rebate.
Down payment
Amount paid as a down payment, which for leases is often called a capital reduction.
Sales tax rate
Percentage sales tax to be charged on this purchase. Sales tax is included in each lease payment. Sales tax for buying is charged on the total sale amount.
Investment rate of return
Rate of return on investments. This is the return that you would make if you were to invest your down payment or security deposit instead of using it in your auto purchase or lease.

The actual rate of return is largely dependent on the types of investments you select. The S&P 500® for the 10 years ending Dec. 31st, 2013 had an annual compounded rate of return of 7.3%, including reinvestment of dividends. From January 1970 through the end of 2013, the average annual compounded rate of return for the S&P 500®, including reinvestment of dividends, was approximately 10.6% (source: www.standardandpoors.com). Since 1970, the highest 12-month return was 61% (June 1982 through June 1983). The lowest 12-month return was -43% (March 2008 to March 2009). Savings accounts at a bank may pay as little as 0.25% or less but carry significantly lower risk of loss of principal balances.

It is important to remember that these scenarios are hypothetical and that future rates of return can't be predicted with certainty and that investments that pay higher rates of return are generally subject to higher risk and volatility. The actual rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long-term investments. This includes the potential loss of principal on your investment. It is not possible to invest directly in an index and the compounded rate of return noted above does not reflect sales charges and other fees that funds and/or investment companies may charge.

Loan term in months
Term in months for your auto loan. Typically this is 36, 48, 60 or 72 months. If your loan term is longer than your lease term, we compare the buy vs lease options to the time the lease expires, and then use your remaining loan term to calculate your outstanding loan balance.
Loan interest rate
Annual interest rate for your loan.
Other fees
Any fee, other than a capital reduction or down payment, required to be paid at the time of purchase. This may include license, title transfer fees, etc.
Annual depreciation
The rate of depreciation gauges how fast your new automobile will lose its market value. A high depreciation rate is about 20% per year, medium is 15% per year and low is 10% per year.
Market value of vehicle
Value of your auto after the lease term is over.
Net cost of buying
This is the total cost of buying your vehicle. This is calculated as:
  1. + Total up front costs (down payment + other fees)
  2. + Lost interest
  3. + Outstanding loan balance at time lease expires
  4. - Market value of vehicle at time lease expires
  5. = Net cost of buying

The lost interest on your purchase includes any interest you would have earned at your investment rate of return on the buy option's down payment and other fees. If the monthly payment for leasing is less than the monthly payment for buying, this also includes any lost interest due to the higher monthly payments. If leasing is more expensive than buying, your interest costs for buying are reduced by the amount of interest you would earn on the difference.

Lease term in months
Term in months for your auto lease.
Lease interest rate
Annual interest rate for your lease.
Other fees
Any fee, other than a capital reduction or down payment, required to be paid at the close of the lease. This may include license, title transfer fees, etc.
Residual percent
For leases, this is remaining value after the lease term expires. The higher this amount, the lower your lease payment will be.
Security deposit
Refundable security deposit required at time of lease. We assume that the security deposit is fully refunded at the time the lease ends.
Net cost of lease
This is the total cost of leasing your vehicle. This is calculated as:
  1. + Total up front costs (capital reduction + other fees)
  2. + Total lease payments
  3. + Lost interest on lease
  4. = Net cost of lease

The lost interest on your lease includes any interest you would have earned at your investment rate of return on the lease option's down payment, security deposit and other fees. Please see the definition for 'Net cost of buying' for an explanation on how we account for any interest you might earn by having a lower monthly lease payment.



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