These 10 used car models have gained the most value in the past 12 months

If you’ve looked at buying a new or used vehicle recently, you’ve probably walked out of the dealer’s place with some serious bumper sticks. In March, the average price of a used car was more than 35% higher than it was 12 months earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s been like this for several months: While the March inflation number for used cars is a little lower than it was in the previous three months, it’s still the 12th straight month for double-digit inflation for used cars.

Much of that ongoing price increase can be blamed on a global shortage of microchips that continues to slow production of new vehicles, says Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader. “The lack of availability of new cars creates pressure on used cars, which then leads to higher prices” in general, he adds.

In addition, fewer transactions on new cars leads to a particular shortage of used cars, since these potential buyers do not trade in or sell their old cars. Supply problems for both new and used cars will be with us for a while, says Evan Drury, senior manager at Edmunds.

“Even if [automakers] In getting all the chips they need, we won’t see that situation with supply and demand on the right side anytime soon, says Drury. “There will be a significant lag time between these new car sales with the trade-offs translating into sufficient supply for [entire] United States market.

Smaller, more fuel-efficient used cars get the most dollar value

High inflation affects not only cars: everything is more expensive nowadays. The CPI measured headline inflation at a historic 8.5%, most of which was driven by increases in the cost of housing and fuel.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine raised the price of gasoline by nearly 20% from February to March and nearly 50% compared to the previous 12 months, according to the BLS. That budget shock had a direct impact on demand for smaller, fuel-efficient cars, according to a recent analysis by iSeeCars.

Of the 10 used car models that have seen the biggest price increase over the past year, 4 are hybrid or electric, and 8 are compact or mini cars.

Fuel-efficient used mini cars have seen a significant price hike in the past 12 months

make a model Average price on March 22 Yearly price increase Year-on-year percentage change
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid $25,620 $9991 63.9%
Kia Rio $17,970 $5,942 49.4%
Nissan Leaf $25,123 $8,288 49.2%
Chevrolet Spark $17,039 $5,526 48%
Mercedes-Benz G-Class $220,846 $71,586 48%
Toyota Prius 26,606 dollars $8,269 45.1%
Kia Forte 20,010 dollars $6,193 44.8%
Kia Soul 20169 USD 6107 dollars 43.4%
Tesla Model S $75,475 $22,612 42.8%
Mitsubishi Mirage $14,838 $4,431 42.6%
Source: iSeeCars

Modi says this is not surprising. For years, “the most economical cars to own over a long period of time according to Kelly Blue Book are compact cars, compact cars, and hybrids,” he says because they often have great financing terms and don’t depreciate as other cars do.

Modi says these economic benefits only multiply when gas prices rise.

A car owner with a trade-in is “the luckiest person in the car buying world right now”

Drury says that sustained demand and a general lack of supply mean potential car buyers are largely out of luck when it comes to getting new wheels. His best advice to buyers? “Reset your expectations: the market has completely shifted in favor of the sellers.”

That means you’ll pay, at the very least, a sticker price for a new car to get it, and the price of that used car you’re looking forward to can now match the price you’d pay for a new car for only 18 months, Drury says.

“Don’t expect to waste a lot of time negotiating,” he adds. “When so many people are looking to buy that car from you as a single seller, there’s no incentive to negotiate.”

Video by Stephen Parkhurst

However, if you’re considering trading in your car, or handing over your lease early, now is the time to do so, says Drury. Even if your current car is a few years old and you’re still paying for it, you can still make money selling it.

“People don’t get it,” Drury says. “Just because you paid doesn’t mean you can’t sell that car.” In today’s market, trading in your car or even selling it to an outside dealer, such as Carmax or Carvana, can earn you enough cash to pay off the rest of your car loan and maybe some money left, he says.

Even people who have used cars in the 5-10 year or high mileage range can sell them for top dollar at the moment if they are in good shape. According to Edmonds data, even cars that are 10 years old sell 35% more than they did last year. The key for sellers is to shop their cars to see who gives them the best price.

“If you have a trade-off, you’re like the luckiest person in the car buying world,” Drury says. However, the younger your car, the more likely you are to get your car back and possibly profit from its sale.

“It doesn’t matter if your trade is three years old or if it is one year old,” Drury says. “If it’s only a year old, you’ll probably get the same price you paid for that car from the start. So you’ve driven free for a year.”

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