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Sticker shock: a used car could set you back $29,000. If you can find one.

looking down a row of cars in a parking garage in Austin
KUT News

From Texas Standard:

If you're looking for a used car, get ready for a surprise. According to a new report from Edmunds, the average price of a used car in the U.S. is now more than $29,000. That's up more than 40% in the past year.

Prices have risen so precipitously that many prospective buyers are being priced out of the market.

Zac Palmer has been following these trends for AutoBlog, where he's road test editor. He told Texas Standard that while buyers may have trouble finding or affording the used care they want, it's a great time to sell.

"You can't really find something to replace it, whether it be new or used," Palmer said. "The current supplies are just so low. And that's really what's driving this massive increase in the used car price average."

Palmer says the high cost of new and used cars is rooted in the chip shortage that began in 2020, due to pandemic-related manufacturing slowdowns. People who might ordinarily choose a new car enter the used market, and prices rise.

Recent analyses suggest car shortages could ease in late 2022 or 2023, unless the chip shortage continues. Palmer says if that shortage continues, it could be until 2024 before new car production returns to normal.

If you're looking to buy a new or used car right now, Palmer says look beyond local dealers to find deals. Or just hang on for a few more months to see if supplies improve.