If you’ve been shopping for a used car lately, you’ve undoubtedly noticed prices have gone through the roof. While this isn’t exactly news, a study is shining light on how bad the problem has gotten.
The findings are striking as “used car shoppers have to buy cars more than twice as old as what the same money bought them in 2019.” In particular, $23,000 used to be able to get you a three-year old used car, but today that same amount of money couldn’t even get you something six-years old.
As part of the study, iSeeCars looked at over 21 million used cars sold in 2019 and 2023. They found that the “average age of used cars sold increased from 4.8 years to 6.1 years, while the average price across all ages increased 33 percent, from $20,398 to $27,133.”
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That’s a sizable jump and the increase in price and age can be blamed on a variety of factors including inflation, demand, and the coronavirus pandemic, which brought new car production to a halt. Even when factories reopened, it was far from smooth sailing thanks to the chip crisis and part shortages.
Most of us want to put COVID in the rearview mirror, yet it and its effects are still sticking around. While a one-year old used car cost an average of $27,793 in 2019, that number has now jumped 67% to $46,403. Likewise, a three-year old used car cost an average of $23,048 in 2019, but it has now jumped to $32,493.
Even models that are a decade old have seen a 38.9% increase in price. In particular, a ten-year old used car cost an average of $10,728 in 2019, but that figure is now $14,898.
iSeeCars also looked at individual models and found what drivers used to pay for a three-year old used car might only get them a nine-year old used car today. In the case of the Chevrolet Spark, the average three-year old model cost $9,878 in 2019 whereas a nine-year old model goes for an average of $9,692 today.
Furthermore, a three-year old Chrysler 200 cost an average of $14,096 in 2019, while a seven-year old model costs $14,670 today. That means you’d pay an extra $574 to have something that’s four years older.
There are countless other examples, but iSeeCars’ Executive Analyst Karl Brauer said: “The 2019 budget that purchased three-year old versions of these cars now buys a 7- to 9-year old version of that same model.” However, “Given that the average car is driven between 10,000 and 15,000 miles a year, these cars are not only more than twice as old, but have between 40,000 and 100,000-plus more miles – for the same money.”
That’s the big kicker as you’re not only paying more in some cases, but you’re also getting something older and with higher miles. This could potentially cost you even more in maintenance and repairs.