A shortage of second-hand vehicles is preventing prices from returning to pre-pandemic levels

Today’s sky-high used car prices can’t last forever. Experts expect a reset—but at a level still painfully higher than before the pandemic.

“There’s talk about prices declining,” confirms Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive, a company with multiple brands in the automotive industry, including Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.

But don’t get overexcited. “It seems very difficult to see them shifting anywhere back to where they were pre-COVID,” Chesbrough warns.

How bad has it been? Well, the average price of a used vehicle sold by a new-car dealership leaped from $21,210 in 2020 to $30,800 in 2022—an astounding 45%...

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