CINCINNATI — Car lease marketplace Swapalease.com reports car lease credit applicants registered a 70.9% approval rate in October, a slight rise from the September rate of 69.8%. The number of lease approvals is significantly higher than the same time last year, as just 55.6% of lease applicants were approved in October 2017. Another 61.5% were approved in October of 2016.

The modest increase comes as no surprise, analysts said, considering it follows the consumer credit announcement last week, when it was reported that consumer credit increased at a seasonally adjusted rate of just 3.3% in September, down from the 7.0% increase in August. Nonrevolving credit, which includes auto loans, decreased significantly at an annual rate of 0.4%, following a 5.3% increase in August. 

Lease approvals have been slowly increasing since January, with a slight dip in approvals for the month of May, and now again in September. The approval rate was up again in October and now sits just below the highest approval rating of the year, which was in August at 72.6%. Swapalease.com is benefitting from more car shoppers seeking alternate channels for lease deals, as incentives on leases have decreased at the dealership, said Scot Hall, the company’s executive vice president.

“Our lease approval rate continues to hover near market-healthy levels, especially as the continued strong economy helps with lease approvals,” Hall said. “We’re continuing to see an influx of applicants who are looking to change vehicles but take advantage of yesterday’s lease deals by taking over an existing contract as opposed to the higher payments they’re being offered at dealerships today.”

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