Sorry, But the Car-Buying Market Still Sucks
Photo: Steve Harvey / Unsplash

Sorry, But the Car-Buying Market Still Sucks

After a huge five-year runup, prices are starting to come down—but not very quickly

Car nerds who watch the rise and fall of vehicle prices have a warning: If you're buying any kind of car, expect to continue facing the worst market in decades.

Whether you're buying new or used, the average price of cars is still very, very high compared to where things were pre-pandemic in 2019—about $47,680 for new cars and $28,195 for something used. Back in 2019, you would’ve paid an average of around $36,000 for a new car.

As CNN reports, living in the South means you'll pay more for trucks and SUVs where they're more popular. You'd have better luck, as far as pricing, buying the same vehicle in the midwest. Overall, the average price of a large pickup was $62,430 in 2020 and despite the easing of inflation and supply-chain improvements, prices aren't coming down quickly like you might expect.

"If you look back, or if you've ever done a transaction before in your life, all of these numbers are bad," said Ivan Drury, the director of insights at

Used car prices famously spiked about 45 percent during the worst of the pandemic, with rental-car companies competing for older vehicles and leasing trade-ins dropping off significantly. Tax season is when lots of buyers start to look at used cars they want to purchase with their refund money; dealers are trying to build up their inventory of used cars and that may be causing another price spike this year. If you want to get ahead of another price increase, you may want to consider buying now before things get worse if you're looking for a used-car deal.

Kelley Blue Book points out that new-car prices have dropped for three months straight, so if you're shopping for a 2023 model, you may want to try waiting a little longer to see if that continues, or look for some of the better deals you can find now online.

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