Monday, May 24, 2021

FRED — The jump in used car prices

This blog has discussed trends for vehicle sales in general, but let’s stick with used vehicle prices and add some historical context. Before the current recession, annual growth in used vehicle prices hadn’t hit 3% since May 2012 and remained largely flat during the period from 2013 to 2020. Indeed, this trend goes back well over two decades: As measured by the CPI, used vehicle prices were largely flat or falling going back to 1997.

So the current spike in prices feels more like a correction after a lengthy stretch of falling prices. A 21% annual rise in prices is extraordinary, but it came about due to a unique and unprecedented set of economic conditions now impacting the supply of vehicles. Looking at how and why it happened gives us a better understanding of where things stand....
The jump in used car prices

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