Used Vehicle Prices Set New Records Amid Tight Supply
Average used vehicle listing price based on 30-day sales.
Graph: Cox Automotive
The average listing price for used vehicles set another record in July as vehicle inventory remained tight, according to the Cox Automotive analysis of vAuto Available Inventory data. The days’ supply of vehicles inched higher, but only because sales slowed.
The average listing price for used vehicles stood at $25,500 as July closed. A month earlier it surpassed the $25,000 mark for the first time ever. Last summer, the average listing price hit the $20,000 mark for the first time. It has been rising ever since. The average listing price was 28% higher at the end of July compared with the same time a year ago and 32% higher than the same pre-pandemic period 2019.
The total supply of unsold used vehicles on dealer lots across the U.S. grew to 2.44 million vehicles at the end of July, compared with 2.40 million the month earlier. Used vehicle inventory improved from the same period in 2020 by 12% but was still down 14% from the comparable time in 2019.
“For consumers, finding a used vehicle at an attractive price represents a huge challenge in today’s market,” said Charlie Chesbrough, Cox Automotive senior economist. “Sales have been slowly falling in recent months due to limited availability and high prices, but not enough to chase off prospective buyers. The even more pronounced lack of new vehicles is forcing shoppers into the used market, and so even more buyers are chasing fewer vehicles. The situation is unlikely to improve significantly until the supply issues in the new market start to improve.”
The used-vehicle days’ supply entering August inched up to 42 from 40 the month earlier. The days’ supply for used vehicles has been on a slow upward trend since May, after used-vehicle sales peaked and began to slow. The days’ supply was 21% higher at the end of July compared with a year ago but still 12% below 2019.
The Cox Automotive days’ supply is based on the daily sales rate for the most recent 30-day period, which ended July 26. Used-vehicle sales in that period totaled 1.77 million units. Used-vehicle sales were about 8% lower this July than July 2020, but were roughly flat with July 2019.
Franchised dealers had about 1.45 million vehicles in inventory at the end of July, about the same number they had at the end of June. That put the days’ supply at 40, up from 39, on a slower sales pace. The average listing price for used vehicles on franchised dealer lots was $27,402, breaking the previous record set at the end of June of $27,103. The average mileage of a used car on a franchised dealer’s lot was 62,359 miles, a bit less than the average vehicle last month.
Independent dealers had 992,000 vehicles in inventory at the end of July, up from 989,000 at the end of June. That resulted in a 45 days’ supply. The average listing price of a used vehicle on an independent dealer’s lot was $22,629, beating the previous record of $22,161 at the end of June. The average vehicle had 78,267 miles on it, slightly less than the average last month.
By price segment, used vehicles under $10,000 had the lowest supply at only 30 days. Vehicles priced between $10,000 and $20,000 had a 38 days’ supply. Between $25,000 and $35,000, supply was 43 days. The above $35,000 segment had the highest supply at 49 days.
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