The Average Price of a Used Car Is up by Thousands in the Last Week

  • The average price of a used car rockets pas $29,000
  • A seller’s market means those with a car to trade in have an upper hand
  • Prospective buyers are advised to wait out the rise in prices

More bad news from the used and new car market today. Unfortunately, as we all likely predicted, the average price of a used car has risen again. Admittedly, we just didn’t think it would happen so quickly. A week ago to the day, we told you all to dry your tears, because the average price of a used car was now $27,500. In seven whole days, that number has now climbed to a massive $29,000. So, dry your tears yet again.

Steep used car prices are the norm for now

A full used car lot, now a rare sight amid the surge in used car prices everywhere
Used car prices continue to spike | Mike Kemp via Getty Images

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For now, high used car prices are something we can continue to expect, says a report from CBS News. Moreover, we can continue to expect new car prices to rise as well. Simply put, its supply and demand turned hellish, made worse by the chip shortage. Automakers can’t make enough cars to meet rabid consumer demand brought on by the economic recovery seen after the lifting of pandemic restrictions across the globe early this year.

However, this isn’t just about the chip shortage or supply vs. demand. Per CBS, it’s also about inflation. Right now, we’re in the middle of the largest jump in inflation in the last 40 years. CBS says inflation is up 6.8% over the last year. With your dollar weaker than ever, it’s hard to find a new ride that isn’t subject to the rise in used car prices. That’s doubly true for new car prices, with madness like this $102,000 Honda Civic Type R becoming commonplace.

What is a good price to pay for a used car?

The window sticker of a 2003 Ford showing an MSRP of $23,119, now the price of a used car has surged well above that.
Adjusted for inflation, this new Ford was worth $35K in 2002 | Tim Boyle via Getty Images

Thankfully, there are some areas of respite from the surge in average car prices. For those of us fortunate to have a new or used ride to trade in, there’s never been a better time to do so. Yesterday, I was offered a massive $80,000 cash for our Ford Bronco loaner. Another friend was offered $4,000 over sticker price for his Ford Escape SUV. Use this unprecedented seller’s market to get a good price on a used car.

Furthermore, private sellers provide more relief. Unlike dealerships, there’s some room for negotiation on a person-to-person basis. However, it must be said that buying from a private party can sometimes leave you high and dry with maintenance bills. If you’re uncertain what to pay for a used car right now, we’d recommend waiting for that “perfect deal.” Don’t be afraid to travel to get a good price, and always try to negotiate.

Some experts see a dip in the auto market on the horizon

A new car dealership with a full showroom, something that has become a rare sight amid the chip shortage
A full dealership has become a rare sight | Valery Sharifulin via Getty Images

As frustrating as “hurry up and wait” might be to hear, some experts see a dip coming. The current auto market, chip shortage and all, is a bubble. Eventually, it’ll pop and prices will reach some semblance of normality once again. In short, if you can sell, sell. If you’re a buyer, however, be prepared to be crafty. No one wants to pay an average of $29,000 for a used car.

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