Kelley Blue Book: Car prices may soon see a key pattern change

by | Feb 27, 2023 | Stock Market

Americans are buying more cars early in 2023 than they did early in 2022. But the pace is already slowing. New car prices have been rising for most of two years. Used car prices showed a similar rise through the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, then stabilized and began to fall last autumn. But analysts think that pattern could reverse, with new car prices falling and used car prices rising if current trends hold.

Check out: The 2024 Honda Prologue: Honda’s new electric SUV is attractive and spacious. When can you get one?Sales rate fluctuating early this year Auto industry analysts measure sales by calculating the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). It removes normal seasonal fluctuations — Americans buy more cars some months than others in pretty predictable patterns, so the measure smooths them out. The SAAR then multiplies the month’s sales rate by 12 to show how many cars Americans would buy if they shopped at this rate all year. In an average pre-pandemic year, Americans bought as many as 17 million new cars. Last year, we bought just 13.7 million. In January, sales sped up, not to pre-pandemic rates, but much higher than last year’s figure. The SAAR got as high as 15.7 million. It has since cooled off. Cox Automotive predicts that, when February ends, it will land at about 14.4 million — not much higher than the slow rate of 2022.Price pattern could flip But within the sales figures lies an exciting trend. Ne …

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