Studies Prove You Should Have Purchased Your Used Car A Year Ago

Now is the absolute worst time to buy a used car. Prices are higher than ever since new cars are out of chips, which leads to greater demand in the used market. On top of that, studies show that a year ago, when things were slower, you would’ve had a much easier time buying a used car. So today, let’s all sulk in self-pity at having hesitated to buy a used car back when we took low used car prices for granted.

Used Car Dealership
Used Car Dealership | Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

The average change in used car prices over one month

A recent report from iSeeCars evaluated the average used price of a car in August of 2020, and then again in August of 2021. The results are rather eye-opening. In 2021, the average price of a used car is around $30,766. And according to the study, the average price increase across all cars was 26%

Let’s do that math on a car that costs $30,000, right around the average price of a used car right now. We’re not looking for 26% of $30,000, we’re looking for WHAT plus 26% equals $30,000. And after a quick look at an online percentage calculator that means a $30,000 used car today cost just $23809 a year ago.

What’s more startling are the cars that have been most impacted by these jacked-up used car prices. The irony is that some of the used models listed aren’t that desirable.

The price of a used Mitsubishi Mirage went up by almost 50% between now and last year.

2018 Mitsubishi Mirage
2018 Mitsubishi Mirage | Jim Mahoney/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

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Last year, a used Mitsubishi Mirage would’ve cost you $8,941 bucks. For a budget car with 78 horsepower, that’s probably a fair price. Now, the average price of a Mitsubishi Mirage is $13,398, a 49.9% increase from last year. While $13,398 is still fairly cheap, that kind of increase is absolutely insane.

But there are other cars that had their value suddenly spike. Used Lincoln Navigators and Lincoln Navigator Ls tacked on about $16,000 to their used price, which hovered around $49,000 back in 2020. That’s a 32% increase over the span of just a year.

But if you were on the hunt for a used Mercedes G-Class, good luck. Last year, a used G-Class would’ve cost you around $114,000. But what’s the average price for a used Mercedes G-Class now? Try $160,452. That’s over $45,000 added to the price. By comparison, you can buy a brand new Mercedes-G Class for $133,250.

Plenty of used cars have increased in value, following the same trend as the ones above. But there were a few cars that remained, for the most part, unchanged in value over this past year. Albeit, most of the cars on this list are of a higher caliber.

The prices of a used Mercedes Benz GLC are right around where they were last year

Mercedes GLC300
Mercedes GLC300 | Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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Unlike the Mercedes G-Class, the Mercedes-Benz GLC costs about $38,123 used right now. In comparison to the $35,291 price of yesteryear, that’s only an 8% increase. All in all, not bad, even if most people aren’t searching for a Mercedes as a used car.

But unfortunately, most of the used cars on this list are more expensive, luxury brands. The price of a used Audi SQ5 went up from $41,832 to $45,652. And the Infinity QX80 went up from $42,759 to $48,404. And these are the cars that increased in value the least.

The one car on this list that is geared toward consumers is a used Nissan Maxima. In 2020, the average used price was $21,960. Now, they average around $25,028. For a used car, sure, that’s about as good as it gets.

But regardless, unless you were trying to buy a $1,000 piece of junk last year, chances are the used car you recently bought would’ve been cheaper had you bought it a year ago. And while prices are finally starting to settle, it may be a while before any of these used prices actually go back down. So, if you can help it, hold onto your car as long as you can.

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