Title: Uncovering the Volatile Trends of Used Car Prices in 2023: A Detailed Analysis
The used car market in 2023 has been riddled with uncertainty and fluctuating prices. One moment, prices skyrocket, and the next, they plummet. It has become challenging to keep track of these ever-changing trends. But fear not, because CarEdge is here to provide you with comprehensive insights into the used car market. Whether you’re a prospective buyer or a seller, we have analyzed the data to help you understand the current market trends. So fasten your seatbelts as we embark on a journey to explore this crucial information together.
Used Car Prices Are Falling (Slowly):
According to a recent analysis by Cox Automotive, the sales of used cars are gradually slowing down. Simultaneously, the availability of used vehicle inventory is decreasing. This scarcity is primarily due to the multi-year chip shortage, which significantly reduced the global production of new vehicles in 2021 and 2022. Consequently, there are fewer one to two-year-old used cars in the market today. This limited supply has led to elevated used car prices despite the average interest rate for used cars reaching 13.5%. Nationwide, the available used car supply stands at approximately 2.2 million units, a decline of 256,000 compared to the previous year. Although quality used cars still fetch a premium at dealer auctions, they are becoming scarcer.
Ray Shefska’s Insights on the Current Market:
Ray Shefska, an expert at CarEdge, observes that the used car market is currently in a state of flux. While wholesale values at auctions are steadily declining, these reductions are barely reflected in retail prices. He attributes this phenomenon to the scarcity of quality late-model used cars, which continues to drive high prices. Shefska explains that the decline in prices, if any, will mainly impact lower-quality and cheaper vehicles. These models are experiencing significant declines in wholesale prices, signaling potential relief for budget-conscious consumers.
The Impact of Auto Repos on the Used Car Market:
The increase in auto repos, an outcome of rising auto loan delinquency rates, has contributed to significant changes in the used car market. During the pandemic, there were minimal repossessions of vehicles. However, as delinquency rates rose, the number of repo vehicles appearing at dealer auctions increased as well. Repossessed vehicles generally have been treated less delicately than other sources of used car inventory, such as lease returns. Thus, this trend coincides with a decline in prices, primarily affecting lower-quality cars.
Higher Used Car Interest Rates:
In response to elevated loan delinquency rates, financial institutions are tightening their lending guidelines. This adjustment is expected to have a substantial impact on overall sales as consumers might face difficulties finding affordable deals within their monthly budgets or obtaining financing. However, individuals with higher financial capabilities will likely continue purchasing expensive, high-quality used cars. These buyers can afford larger down payments and higher monthly payments. Conversely, aspiring buyers of older, cheaper cars might encounter obstacles in qualifying for loans, potentially precipitating a steeper price decline in this vehicle category.
Prices: High But Dipping:
Although the average listing price for used cars in America has experienced a 3% decrease compared to the previous year, prices remain near all-time highs. To put things into perspective, average used car prices are still 39% higher than in 2019 and pre-pandemic 2020. While retail prices have slightly dropped since the start of 2023, wholesale prices have stabilized, hinting at a potential equilibrium in the market after a period of intense fluctuations.
Used Inventory Averages Higher Mileage:
A noteworthy trend is the increasing mileage of used car inventory. This shift indicates that more drivers are holding onto their vehicles for longer periods, primarily due to the continuously rising prices of new cars that outpace overall inflation. As the affordability of new cars decreases, owners are maximizing the value of their existing vehicles by extending their usage.
New vs. Used Electric Vehicles:
In the realm of electric vehicles (EVs), the market is constantly evolving. Over the past year, the gap between new and used EV prices has significantly narrowed. The surge in new EV inventory, a staggering 342% increase year-over-year, along with price adjustments from Tesla, has led to a notable correction in used EV prices. As of Q2 2023, the average price of a used EV stands at $41,630, considerably lower than the $50,000 average a year ago. However, the lack of federal incentives for used EVs priced over $25,000 and the abundance of incentives for new EVs may still make buying new more appealing for many consumers.
The Market in Perspective:
Despite a slight decrease, used car prices have not fully retraced the substantial increases witnessed in recent years. However, with new car inventory rapidly increasing, buyer incentives are making a comeback, potentially leading to better deals. Furthermore, purchasing new cars often comes with the advantage of a full manufacturer warranty. Stay tuned to CarEdge for the latest insights on car buying trends, as we monitor these evolving market conditions. Whether you’re considering a used or new vehicle, count on us to empower you to make informed decisions based on our comprehensive analysis.
In conclusion, the used car market in 2023 has been characterized by fluctuating prices and limited supply due to the chip shortage. While prices are gradually falling, the decline is slower than anticipated, especially for late-model used cars. Cheaper used cars are experiencing the most significant price drops, offering potential relief for budget-conscious buyers. Financial institutions tightening lending guidelines have implications for overall sales, with some consumers finding it harder to secure loans for older, cheaper cars. Although prices have dipped slightly, they remain at historically high levels. The rising mileage of used cars indicates an increasing trend of owners holding onto their vehicles for longer. Lastly, the evolving market for electric vehicles offers both new and used options, with incentives favoring new EV purchases. As CarEdge continues to monitor market conditions, we will provide you with the latest insights and data to facilitate informed car buying decisions.