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Is the Used Car Pricing Madness Over?

Experts advise vehicle owners to sell or trade in soon to maximize the value of their used car before prices dip further

SANTA MONICA, CA — September 15, 2021 — Used vehicle prices and trade-in values are finally trending downward after rising all year and skyrocketing this summer, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds data reveals that the average value for all vehicles traded in during the month of August dipped to $21,058, a 1% decrease compared to $21,261 in July. The average transaction price for all used vehicles also decreased, dipping to $26,308 in August compared to $27,245 in July, a drop of 3.4%. Edmunds experts say that used vehicle demand is declining because consumers who had an urgent need for a vehicle likely already bit the bullet this summer and made their purchase, and those who can stand to hold off on a purchase are likely biding their time until better deals are available.

"Minor percentage decreases aren't typically a marker of big news, but considering the meteoric rise we've seen in used prices and trade-in values over the last few months, it's safe to say that this is a notable milestone," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights. "The used market may have finally hit a peak in August, but the industry is still facing a long and uncertain road ahead. New vehicle inventory is still very thin due to the global chip shortage, and challenges created by the Delta variant are placing further pressure on production timelines. The supply chain is so fragile at this point that it's possible that we could see used vehicle prices and trade-in values creep up again."

Edmunds experts took a look at trade-in values for three models known for commanding some of the highest resale values in the U.S.: the Toyota 4Runner, Toyota Tacoma and Jeep Wrangler. The average trade-in value for used Toyota 4Runners in August dropped to $33,801, a $1,130 decrease from June's high of $34,931. The average trade-in value for used Toyota Tacomas dropped to $28,512 in August, a $2,010 decrease from June's high of $30,522. The average trade-in value for used Jeep Wranglers dropped to $30,277 in August, a $396 decrease from June's high of $30,673.

"If you currently own a car but also know that you need to make a replacement purchase soon, we'd strongly advise you to consider selling now to maximize the value of your trade-in," said Ivan Drury, Edmunds' senior manager of insights. "Your used car's value is one of your biggest negotiating tools in today's challenging market. Waiting any longer to sell or trade in could cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars as we approach the new calendar year, when depreciation typically accelerates."

Consumers can check on the value of their own used vehicle on Edmunds by getting a free online appraisal.

About Edmunds
Edmunds guides car shoppers online from research to purchase. With in-depth reviews of every new vehicle, shopping tips from an in-house team of experts, plus a wealth of consumer and automotive market insights, Edmunds helps millions of shoppers each month select, price and buy a car with confidence. Regarded as one of America's best workplaces by Fortune and Great Place to Work, Edmunds is based in Santa Monica, California, and has a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.