Data from the past three years has shown that summer is typically an expensive season when it comes to used car prices. But new data tracked across more than a half-million vehicles sold at CarMax ($NYSE:KMX) reveals that the summer of 2019 was the most-expensive period on record for used-car prices.

The average price of a used car for the months of June, July, and August 2019 was right around $22,000, at least $1,000 more than the summer of 2018.

The new averages reflect a 7.2% year-over-year change in price for June 2019, 6.8% for July, and 4.5% in August. That compares with year-over-year changes in 2018 of -0.3%, -1.6%, and 1.2%. 

The rise in prices for used cars doesn't appeared to be related to a paucity of availability. Rather, inventory at CarMax has risen steadily throughout most of 2019 and certainly during the summer months.

Meanwhile, the value of used cars appears to be going down. That's because the average mileage of a used car has been steadily rising since last spring. In April 2019, the average mileage of a car sold at CarMax was 37,300 miles. That crept up to 40,000 miles by August 2019.

To be fair, average mileage was still a bit lower than last summer. Compared year-over-year, average used-car mileage was down more than 4% in June 2019.

As for what was driving prices up (or down), the most expensive make and model for the Summer of 2019 at CarMax was the Mercedes S63 AMG. In fact, the top-four most-expensive cars for the summer were all Mercedes', followed by Teslas (which were pretty rare - only 7 Model X's showed up followed by 24 Model S's).

Make

Model

Price (Average)

Number of listings

Mercedes-Benz

S63 AMG

$86,747.56

224

Mercedes-Benz

AMG GT

$86,703.36

112

Mercedes-Benz

GLS63 AMG

$85,231.33

60

Mercedes-Benz

S560

$84,831.33

114

Tesla

Model X

$81,712.29

7

Tesla

Model S

$77,164.67

24

Porsche

718 Boxster

$74,367.23

130

Audi

Q8

$73,127.03

62

Lexus

LC 500

$72,483.15

47

Audi

RS7

$72,139.67

120

Mercedes-Benz

GLE63 AMG

$72,130.26

155

Lexus

LS 500

$70,195.99

149

Mercedes-Benz

S450

$68,432.21

76

Porsche

911

$67,056.17

1059

Mercedes-Benz

GLS550

$66,174.90

407

Mercedes-Benz

SL450

$65,614.83

30

Mercedes-Benz

CLS450

$63,315.46

63

Mercedes-Benz

GL63 AMG

$62,184.44

59

Mercedes-Benz

SL63 AMG

$61,824.09

69

BMW

M550

$60,761.18

111

As for the most plentiful car, that went to the Nissan Rogue, with an average price of $17,560 with more than 118,000 listings (cumulative across the summer), followed by the Honda Civic, which went for $17,458 on average with 112,000 daily listings this summer.

Make

Model

Price (Average)

Number of listings

Nissan

Rogue

$17,560.56

118,636

Honda

Civic

$17,458.90

112,052

Nissan

Altima

$15,360.84

107,360

Nissan

Sentra

$13,973.61

88,909

Honda

Accord

$19,049.27

85,486

Toyota

RAV4

$21,188.04

84,717

Hyundai

Elantra

$13,969.00

84,101

Dodge

Ram 1500

$29,128.70

80,156

Toyota

Corolla

$15,623.41

79,005

Ford

Escape

$16,766.82

76,884

There are any number of reasons as to why the summer of 2019 was the most expensive on record for used-car prices, but the trend most likely represents a change in the way consumers perceive the value of pre-owned vehicles. It's too early to say if this was a summer phenomenon or if the trend will continue into fall and winter. We'll keep an eye on it as usual.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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