The Used Car Market Is Collapsing in 2024 – What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know

Key Takeaways

  • Used car prices are falling as we enter summer 2024
  • While good news for buyers, falling trade-in values pose challenges for sellers
  • Before taking out a high-APR loan, check the latest 0% APR offers for new models

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Last updated Jun 5, 2024

Used car prices are falling as we head into summer 2024, and in all likelihood, we’re just getting started. According to the most recent used car market update from Black Book, prices and trade-in values are softening as buyers turn their backs to high APRs and high prices. However, last week brought the largest wholesale used car price decline since January. Here’s a look at the latest.

👉 See the latest used car price report (updated weekly)

Used Car Loan Rates Complicate a Buyer’s Market

Following an unremarkable spring buying season, used car sales are weakening and inventory is piling up. After several weeks of back and forth, last week saw wholesale prices drop -0.49% in just seven days. Zooming out to the past month, we see that wholesale markets where dealers acquire and sell vehicles, used car prices are down one percent. That’s not much, but it’s the trend that matters. With each passing week, used car prices have been softening further. If this trend continues, used car buyers may finally be in for some real price relief. However, the selling price is just one piece of the puzzle.

Unfortunately, high interest rates continue to keep buyers away, with the average used car loan rate remaining north of 14% APR. Furthermore, compelling new car manufacturer incentives, such as zero percent APR offers available today, are leading would-be used car buyers to shift over to the new car market. The latest data from Cox Automotive shows that new car transaction prices continue to fall, and with more affordable new cars, the used car market is under downward pressure.

All signs point towards more price drops to come in summer 2024 (see our market forecast here). But it’s not all good news. Driver’s considering selling their vehicle should pay attention to used car price updates in the weeks ahead. 

Trade-In Values Are Falling in 2024

As used car prices fall, trade-in values are taking a hit. Although today’s price trends are great for buyers, it’s bad news for those looking to sell or trade-in a vehicle in 2024.

Here are some tips to navigate this challenging landscape:

1. Research Your Car’s Value Frequently

  • Use online tools like CarEdge Sell, Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to get an accurate estimate of your car’s current trade-in value. Used car values are changing by the week, so it’s important to stay on top of recent trends. Plus, this will give you a baseline to work with when negotiating with dealers or private buyers.

2. Consider Private Sale

  • Selling your car privately can often yield a higher price than trading it in at a dealership. Be prepared for the additional effort involved in listing, showing, and negotiating with potential buyers.

3. Prepare Your Car For Sale   

  • Ensure your vehicle is in its best condition. A clean, well-maintained car with up-to-date service records will attract higher offers. Consider minor repairs or detailing to increase your car’s appeal.

4. Master Negotiation Beforehand

  • When trading in your car, get quotes from multiple dealerships to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Don’t be afraid to negotiate based on the research you’ve done about your car’s value. Use CarEdge’s FREE car buying cheat sheets and Deal School to become a negotiation pro.

5. Consider a Car Buying Service 


By following these steps, you can give your car the best shot at bringing in a higher sale or trade-in value. If you choose to work with CarEdge’s Car Buying Service, our professional Concierges can assist with your trade-in or sale. Learn more.

A Bit of Perspective

Notably, used car values remain above historical norms. It would take months of similar week-over-week declines to return the market to pre-2021 norms. In 2019, the average used car selling price was $20,618. Today, in 2024, the average used car price is $25,328. However, that’s down from 2022’s peak north of $30,000 for a used car.

And then there are today’s used car loan rates. For much of the past year, rates have averaged around 14% APR. This high-interest environment continues to impact buyers, making used car financing less attractive compared to the more favorable new car loan rates available with manufacturer incentives. Are you sure you want that $25,000 used car at 13% APR if you can get a brand new car for $30,000 at zero percent APR? It’s something every used car shopper should consider today. 

Understanding these trends provides valuable context for today’s used car market. While current prices are higher than historical norms, they are gradually decreasing. However, the elevated used car loan rates are a critical factor to consider when making purchasing decisions.

The Takeaway

Used car prices are falling sharply at wholesale markets and more slowly at retail car lots. Expect used car prices to continue falling in the months ahead, creating a buyer’s market for deal-savvy shoppers. However, used car loan rates make financing expensive, so if you’re planning to finance a large amount, consider 0% APR offers for affordable new cars instead.

Have You Considered Car Buying Services? 

What is a car concierge - CarEdge

No dealers, no hassle, no stress. Is it possible to buy a car without hating it? Yes! Learn more about CarEdge Concierge, the most-trusted car buying service out there!

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