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Used car prices jumped nearly 30% in a year

Used car prices soar
Used car prices soar

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the market for a used car? You might want to hold off.

It’s been a week since Chad Sulak bought a used GMC Sierra pickup.

“It was almost impossible based just off the price that people were asking for high mileage vehicles. It was exorbitant to say the least,” Sulak said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, used car prices jumped 29.7% between May 2020 and May 2021.

In April alone, used car and truck prices rose 10% -- the biggest monthly price rise since used car data was first tracked in 1953.

“New car inventory and used car prices are not normal because of the semiconductor shortage,” said Ben Preston, with Consumer Reports.

Preston said that when the pandemic hit, fewer people were driving and more were using electronics. Car companies stopped producing and those semiconductor chips needed in vehicles were rerouted for other goods.

“You should plan on like six months to a year of craziness continuing,” Preston said.

Preston recommends that if you are deciding between getting a new car or repairing your current car to take the cost of the repair and divide by six to 12 months.

“You can see this is what it’s going to cost me per month to make this repair and then you can compare it to what a car payment would cost, but chances are it would be less than what a car payment would cost anyway,” Preston said.

Preston said if you are desperate for a new car, look for less desirable models like sedans or smaller cars -- but avoid a pickup.

A report from Iseecars.com found prices for a pickup are up more than $7,000 from last year.

“Pack your patience because you are not going to get it on your first try,” Sulak said.

About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.