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You thought new cars were expensive? The average used car price is also absurd

For the first time in history, the average used car's price crossed the $25,000 mark -- that's wild.

Used cars

The car market is absolutely bonkers right now.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

We've written a lot about new car prices and their absurdity in the past few months as demand outstrips supply. Basically, manufacturing shortages have been leaving automakers without enough new cars to sell to eager buyers. So a ton of shoppers turned to the used car market -- and that shows big-time. This past Thursday, Cox Automotive released fresh data that shows the average used car now costs, are you ready for it, $25,101 as of June 2021.

Here's my first thought: That's more than a brand-new Honda Civic. I need to say that to help put the dollar figure into perspective because a $25,000 car is not cheap. We're not talking ultralow-mileage machines, either. Data showed the average mileage on these cars is 68,613 miles, or about five to six years' worth of driving. So, we're really likely looking at 2014-2015 models that buyers want to snap up amid car shortages.

The new record is up from a high of $24,414 in May of this year, and if you dig percentages, the $25,101 figure is 26% higher than the average used car price this time last year. And it's 29% higher compared with 2019's average price, which is a great pre-COVID baseline. The numbers truly show supply and demand at work, with used cars becoming a very attractive option for those not willing to wait for their desired new car.

While still mighty expensive, the average new car price sits just over $40,000. When you look at it that way, used cars provide a much better value, but if you don't need a car at this moment, it may be best to wait. June data also showed wholesale auction prices trending downward, which will translate to cheaper prices for used cars at dealer lots in the weeks to come.