CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- As Americans struggle to deal with post-pandemic inflation, the automotive industry continues to be impacted.
According to a recent report from iSeeCars.com, used car prices have risen by 16.9 percent nationwide over the last year. Still, for most shoppers, there is hope as that figure is down from a 23.9 percent increase in April.
In fact, May marked the fourth consecutive month that used car prices have gone down.
“While used car prices have seen minor decreases for the fourth consecutive month, prices remain elevated due to lingering supply constraints,” iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer said.
One constraint is the microchip shortage leading to slower production of new cars which subsequently heightens pressure on the used car market.
Kelley Blue Book reports that as of March, manufacturers built two million fewer cars than in 2019. The result is a manufacturing logjam that cannot keep up with demand.
As previously mentioned, the lack of new cars means more consumers seeking to purchase used cars. But, dealerships could not meet that demand either as fewer people were trading in their old cars. Both of those shortages coupled together caused record-high used car prices.
But, the problems facing consumers are not just limited to supply issues.
Cost increases vary based on the type of used cars being purchased, too, as some models and body types of used cars are simply more expensive than others. Wagons are on the low end averaging $$21,581 and convertibles cost an average of $48,676 on the higher end.
But perhaps more interesting is how the cheapest cars have seen the largest price increases over the last year. The cost of hatchbacks, wagons, and sedans rose by 23.7 percent, 23.5 percent, and 22.2 percent, respectively, while the cost of a used pickup truck rose only by 6.3 percent.
“Hatchbacks, wagons, and sedans have the lowest average prices among all body types, which further illustrates the heightened demand for affordable transportation,” Brauer said.
Despite month-over-month price decreases, iSeeCars’ report indicates the higher-than-average used car prices are likely sticking around.
“While consumers were previously advised to wait to purchase a used car if they were able to do so, new geopolitical factors are expected to exacerbate and prolong the present used car price increases,” Brauer said. “The best way for American consumers to avoid significantly higher prices while car shopping for the foreseeable future is to either maintain their current vehicle or purchase a used vehicle that isn’t in high demand, and to be as flexible as possible with factors such as color and trim.”
What are the trends locally?
As of the end of May, South Carolina consumers will pay an average of $33,933 for a used car, according to iSeeCars.com
The average price for a used car in Charleston went up by 17.1%, or approximately $4,831 over the last year.
For comparison, that is slightly lower than the Greenville-Spartanburg area which saw used prices rise by 17.6% or approximately $5,193
Here are the used cars with the greatest year-over-year price increases in Charleston:
- Nissan Versa – 35.1% ($4,698)
- Volvo XC60 – 29.2% ($9,666)
- Honda Civic Sedan – 28.8% ($5,733)
- Toyota Corolla – 27.5% ($4,643)
- Dodge Durango – 26.8% ($8,883)