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Used Cars in Short Supply and Pricey

Earns CarMax
Steve Helber/ASSOCIATED PRESS
/
AP
FILE - In this photo taken April 1, 2009, a used car sits on display at the CarMax store in Richmond, Va. Used car dealership chain CarMax said Thursday, April 1, 2010, its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings doubled as higher prices and increased customer traffic drove sales.(AP Photo/Steve Helber, file)

According to CarGurus.com, used car prices in the US have gone up more than 18% in the last 3 months and nearly 32% year over year. Trucks are particularly popular and have had the most dramatic jump in price—more than 45% in the past year.

Damon Balch is the owner of Autohaus in Naples, which specializes in high-end pre-owned vehicles. He says they had a record May in terms of sales.

But it’s not just luxury cars. He’s observed similar demand at a neighboring car dealership.

“We’re right next door to a CarMax location. And normally their lot is completely full. I don’t know how many cars they can hold out there, 500, 800, and they’re probably at 50-60% capacity as far as vehicles on the lot.”

In addition to a lack of inventory, Balch has seen car prices going up everywhere.

“As far as the industry is concerned right now, the prices are extremely inflated. So if we were able to buy a vehicle last year at this time for $35,000, this year it’s probably $38,000-40,000 for the same exact vehicle. Any used cars—they’re all driving up the prices for everybody.”

Industry experts attribute the changes to a variety of factors, including a semiconductor shortage that’s decreasing new car availability, relocations from cities to places where a car is necessary, and the arrival of stimulus checks during the pandemic, which gave some people the financial boost they needed to pay for a car.

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