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Used vehicle average price soars above $25,000 in June

·2 min read

Events are happening so quickly and unexpectedly that headlines go stale hours after they're published. On July 21, the Associated Press said there was "a sliver of hope" for used car buyers in that the "seemingly endless streak of skyrocketing used-vehicle prices appears to be coming to a close." The following day, the analysts at Cox Automotive published their findings about the used car industry in June, bearing news that used car prices set a record for the month, averaging $25,101 for vehicles with an average of 68,613 miles on the clock. That transaction price represented a $687 increase over May, and about $5,000 over June 2020, when used car prices crossed the $20,000 threshold for the first time ever.

Buyers that absolutely had to have a ride have snapped up the high-mileage stuff under $15,000, leaving pricier goods on lots. Among franchised dealers, used car prices averaged $27,013 for vehicles with an average of 62,427 miles on the odometer. Independent dealer used car listings average $22,161 for vehicles with an average of 78,913 miles on the odo.

The AP article did note that although "average wholesale prices dealers pay are gradually dropping, they'll likely remain near record levels." Part of the disconnect in the industry now is that no matter how wholesale prices have fluctuated over the past year, the lack of new vehicles paired with overall vehicle demand has kept retail prices elevated. Used inventory grew slightly in June, so there's a chance of a tiny comedown as demand balks at the price of the supply. The high prices in June came as buyers took home 12% fewer vehicles this year than they did in June last year, so "tiny" will be the key word if there is any retreat in July.

And as we wrote in our post on new car prices in May, the situation could be even worse depending on where you look. In May, when J.D. Power analysts sifted their data, they came to the conclusion that used vehicle prices hit $25,463 back in April. Cox Automotive had average listings that month coming in at $22,568. Although the numbers differ substantially, what matters is that the figures derived at both consultancies hit records according to their in-house methods. So, once again, good luck shopping. Caveat emptor has never had more caveat to it.