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Vehicle Trade-In Values Hit All-Time High in March 2021

Low inventory caused by semiconductor shortage and demand for used cars drive historic spike

If you've been hesitant to sell or trade in your vehicle during the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a great time to take action with Edmunds. According to the latest report from our analysts, the average trade-in value for all used vehicles reached an all-time high in March, climbing to $17,080 compared to $14,160 a year ago — an increase of $2,920.

"The chipset shortage is wreaking havoc on new vehicle production, but we're also seeing surprisingly healthy car shopper demand, which has likely grown stronger in light of vaccines rolling out quicker than anticipated," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights. "These two factors combined are disrupting the market in a way we haven't ever really seen before."

One added benefit of increased vehicle values, according to our experts, is that they can reduce the severity of being upside down on a loan, or owing more on a loan than the car is worth.

"Consumers who own a vehicle and are thinking of making a new car purchase in the near future should consider pulling the trigger now. The inventory situation isn't going to get any better anytime soon, and you could essentially be wiping away multiple car payments with the added value of your trade-in," said Ivan Drury, Edmunds' senior manager of insights.

What you need to know

  • Used vehicle trade-in values have shot up due to limited new inventory and shopper interest in quality used vehicles.

  • Edmunds data reveals that the average trade-in value rose $2,920 in March 2021 compared to a year ago.

  • Trucks retain the greatest value and command the highest trade-in prices of all consumer vehicles on the market right now. Ford F-250 Super Duty, GMC Sierra 2500 Heavy Duty and Ford F-350 Super Duty all tied for the top spot on the list, retaining 80% of their value on average.

  • Increased resale value could greatly benefit a loan with negative equity. The average amount owed by consumers who were upside down on their car loan was $4,583 in March 2021 compared to $5,405 a year ago.

  • New car discounts won't be as plentiful as in years past, so it's important to shop sooner rather than later and maximize the value of your trade-in.

Intrigued? Head over to Edmunds and see how much your car is worth. If your vehicle qualifies, you'll get an instant offer good for seven days, which you can redeem at your local CarMax. Or you can take the offer to your local dealer to help bolster your trade-in negotiation. Check it out — a new set of wheels might be more attainable than you thought.

Top 10 Vehicles With The Greatest Trade-in Values

See Edmunds pricing data

Has Your Car's Value Changed?

Used car values are constantly changing. Edmunds lets you track your vehicle's value over time so you can decide when to sell or trade in.

Price history graph example

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