Used Car Prices Rose Almost 10 Percent Compared With Last Year: Study

Illustration for article titled Used Car Prices Rose Almost 10 Percent Compared With Last Year: Study
Image: BMW

Despite what some industry folks predicted early on in the pandemic, the coronavirus did not crash the car market. In fact, due to inventory shortages and many buyers wanting their own transportation aside from ride-hailing and public transit, the car market was booming in certain areas. Used cars especially were affected, and according to a recent study by iSeeCars.com, buyers paid an average of 9.5 percent more in October compared with last year.

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The used car market is still going strong, according to some recent data from iSeeCars.com buyers saw some substantial increases for certain used models in October versus last year. The methodology for this data is as follows -

iSeeCars.com analyzed over 1.2 million used car sales from model years 2015 to 2019 in October 2020, and over 1.3 million used car sales from model years 2014 to 2018 in October 2019. The average listing prices of each car model were compared between the two time periods, and the differences were expressed as both a percentage difference from the 2019 price as well as a dollar difference. Heavy-duty vehicles and low-volume vehicles were excluded from further analysis.

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Screenshot: iSeeCars.com

The fact that pickup trunks dominated the list comes as no surprise, as many dealers saw shortages in new pickups because of factory closures due to COVID-19. However, the BMW 5 Series, surprisingly, takes the No. 1 spot. This is odd, considering that demand for sedans has been in decline for a while.

Another interesting development with this data is that convertible prices jumped up by 27.2 percent compared to last year. So if you are looking for a deal on a used Miata it may be best to wait until after the holidays. Furthermore, two-door models have also seen a big increase in price.

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Screenshot: iSeeCars.com
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iSeeCars executive analyst Karl Brauer explains -

Demand for sports cars outpaces what is available in the used car marketplace, and dealers don’t have to be competitive with pricing because buyers of these kinds of cars may not be bargain-conscious.

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On the bright side, some used models saw a decrease in price compared with October of 2019.

Illustration for article titled Used Car Prices Rose Almost 10 Percent Compared With Last Year: Study
Screenshot: iSeeCars.com
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Within this grouping, the key-value seems to be the Chrysler Pacifica for folks shopping for a family car, because if you need to haul kiddos around you should just buy the damn minivan.

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs AutomatchConsulting.com. He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (Facebook.com/AutomatchConsulting)

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DISCUSSION

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Eric @ opposite-lock.com

People have been reporting sales of Focus STs for more than their used purchase price a year ago and mine is theoretically worth only about $4k less than I paid for it brand new 5.5 years ago. In Mint, both our cars have been rising in value since the beginning of this year.

I’m not sure if this applies to all cars (presumably luxury cars still suffer steep price drops), but for our mildly desirable mainstream brand cars the demand is clearly massively exceeding supply.

In some ways I don’t understand it, though. Sure, there was a production shock from shut down lines, but between people losing their jobs (nowhere to go and a car being a big expense they don’t need), those of us working from home not driving (my car did less than 1k miles between my last two oil changes and is on track for under 400 miles by my next one), and few places you can even go (grocery store? home improvement store? big box?), the demand size doesn’t make much sense. I genuinely expected that used prices would tank as the market would be flooded with cars that unemployed people were forced to dump to stay afloat.

I must be missing something.