Apr 11, 2022 - Economy

Used car prices are starting to decline

Data: Cox Automotive; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Cox Automotive; Chart: Axios Visuals

High used car prices are a post-COVID fact of life — but a key data point offers some hope.

Why it matters: An unprecedented surge in used vehicle prices was an early and essential driver of post-pandemic inflation.

What's happening: The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, a gauge of wholesale market prices for used vehicles, dropped for its second straight month.

  • That's the largest monthly decline since April 2020, during the worst of the pandemic recession.
  • Wholesale prices for used vehicles — Manheim adjusts for age, mileage and other attributes — are now 5.4% lower than their January peak of $21,754.

The big question: Whether the recent dip proves short-lived, given the fresh supply chain snarls set off by the war in Ukraine and China's most recent round of lockdowns.

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