Used vehicles five years old or newer with price tags under $20,000 made up half of the resale market in 2019. Now, four years and one global pandemic later, less than 13% of used cars and trucks are listed in that affordable range.
That makes it more difficult for people with lower incomes to replace an aging vehicle.
Listen: Affordable used cars are harder to find now compared to 2019.
ISeeCars.com automotive analyst Karl Brauer says Detroit is seeing a trend similar to other major cities across the country.
“In Detroit, you had access to 52.7% of the used car market with a $20,000 budget — and now it’s just 12.8%,” Brauer says.
The decline is largely a result of new car production, which lagged amid supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Which drove people into the used car market when they couldn’t find a new car,” Brauer explains. “This lasted for years and there weren’t more used cars. There were the same number that there always were — [but] there were just more buyers for them.”
Brauer says assembly lines are now turning out new vehicles at pre-pandemic levels. However, he warns it could take about three years for used car availability to return to normal.
One potential hurdle for that timeline could be if Detroit’s automakers can’t reach a new contract with the UAW before the Sept. 15 deadline. Industry experts say the length of any potential work stoppage would determine the impact on the vehicle resale market.