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The Average Used Car Now Costs $27,500

You're not going to believe this but things just keep getting more expensive

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You balk at that $27,981 on a 2008 now, but that’s the real deal for most used car prices.
You balk at that $27,981 on a 2008 now, but that’s the real deal for most used car prices.
Photo: Justin Sullivan / Staff (Getty Images)

New data from Black Book, a Hearst company, shows the average used car price now sits around $27,500. As reported by another Hearst company, Car and Driver, this price represents the average list price among 95 percent of available used vehicles listed for sale at both franchise and independent dealerships. The compiled data shows used car prices averaged $27K last month, and now stand at $27.5K for December.

 Kelley Blue Book’s data also shows a similar trend. The car value site adds 2021’s used car inventory is 15 percent lower than it was this time last year, while used prices are near 27 percent higher.


From KBB:

The average used car list price in America at the end of November was $27,569. That’s 27% higher than in November of 2020. It’s a jaw-dropping 41% higher than in November of 2019, the last month before a COVID-19 was first detected and knocked the world’s economy off its tracks.


Black Book says the “retail listing price index now sits at around 35 percent above” where we were last year, with prices steadily increasing weekly due to again, a lack of new and used inventory.

But wait, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Sorta. While Black Book was analyzing prices of nearly two million vehicles on U.S. dealer lots, those used vehicles with the $27.5k average price tag, were newer used vehicles. Data shows inventory is growing for used vehicles up to two years old, while inventory for used vehicles between two and eight years old is dropping off. So at least if you’re paying more for these used vehicles, you’re likely getting a much-newer than usual car.

It has been a hot mess of a year for new and used car prices. We’ve been following this particular mess extensively in 2021 as prices just…keep…rising. In August, our Elizabeth Blackstock took a look at the used car market finally cooling off after a three month high in used car pricing. Prices had soared over 30 percent in just three months – the largest three-month jump since 1974 (which was just 12 percent).

In October, Tom McParland gave us a look at what used car prices were still considered “deals.” Just this month, Erik Shilling told us how there were no more cheap cars to buy. And Tom shared some surprisingly good deals he was able to find this year.