Wholesale used-vehicle prices fell for the second month in a row and to their lowest point this year as consumers face high prices and interest rates.
Cox Automotive figures show wholesale prices decreased 2.7% month-over-month in May. It estimates that retail sales were down 11% year-over-year for the month as many consumers “are being priced out of the market.”
Addressing the wholesale price decline, Cox Senior Manager of Economic and Industry Insights Chris Frey said, “Taking a longer view, May’s year-over-year decline accelerated from April and March; however, the rate of decline might slow over the next several months as we encounter the lower prices seen at auction from May through November last year.
“Two consecutive reads in either measure do not a trend make, as used retail inventory is still below last year, and that tends to keep buyers at the auction, supporting prices.”
Cox’s Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index, which tracks sales at U.S. wholesale dealership auctions, fell 7.6% year-over-year in May to 224.5, its lowest point this year.
Retail prices tend to follow wholesale trends, though Cox pointed out that so far that hasn’t happened. It said the average retail listing price for a used vehicle actually rose 0.8% in the past four weeks. It was a hair under $27,000 in April, the most recent figure available.