WASHINGTON — The average amount financed on U.S. new-vehicle purchases continued to decline in December 2008, according to the latest Federal Reserve Statistical Release.

The figure dropped for the sixth-consecutive month down to its lowest point of the year at $22,769 per vehicle, down from $25,041 in November 2008, and below the fourth quarter average of 24,400. The loan-to-value ratio (LTV) on new-vehicle deals dropped three points from November 2008 to reach 85 percent, which was one of the lowest figures of 2008.

Average loan maturity for December was 59.8 months, a decline from 63.2 in November, and below the 62.3 average for the fourth quarter 2008.

Interest rates on new-car purchases jumped in December to 8.42 percent. The rate is up from the 6.43 recorded in November, and above the fourth quarter average of 7.09. Nonrevolving consumer credit, which includes auto loans, decreased 0.2 percent (or $1.5 trillion) in December, and was down 1.7 percent for the quarter.