Used Car Prices Are Rising Again

After months of declining, the average price of a used car is on the rise.

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I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but after several months of a decline, the average price of used cars sold in America actually increased in July to $28,219, according to Kelley Blue Book.

That’s an 11 percent increase over the same time last year. In mid-April, prices were up 28 percent over the same time in 2021.

The supply of unsold used vehicles on dealer lots across the country stood at just 2.46 million vehicles. That isn’t a lot comparatively, but it is right about where we were at the end of June.

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That’s good news. When you look at this from a supply and demand perspective, it makes sense that fewer cars available would mean the prices would go up.

“Inventory volume at the end of July was 5% above year-ago levels, so we’re holding our ground. In fact, we’re tracking at a fairly normal pace for supply,” Chris Frey, Cox Automotive senior manager for Industry Insights, told KBB.

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The outlet says that the other factor that’s keeping used prices high is new car prices. They just set another record. The average price of a new car sold in America is now over $48,000. KBB says those prices are pushing would-be new car buyers onto used car lots. That increases demand and thus increases used car prices.

By brand, Toyota and Honda had the lowest used-vehicle inventory, with days’ supply at 37 and 39, respectively. The two are near the bottom for supply of new cars as well.

Other Asian automakers with low used supply as well as sparse new-vehicle inventory are Subaru and Hyundai, with used days’ supply of 43. Kia, meanwhile, had only 44. Mazda has above-average new-vehicle inventory but is on the low side at 43 days’ supply of used-vehicle inventory.

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If you’re looking for a super cheap car, you’re in even worse luck. KBB says cars under $10,000 have a supply of just 33 days. The $10-15,000 segment has a supply of 38 days. Cars between $15-30,000 represent the bulk of used car sales, and there is a 42 to 50 day supply. If you go more expensive than that – at least $30,000 – there’s a 52 to 62 day supply.

It’s slim pickins out there, folks.