Sales of certified used vehicles reached an all-time high during 2014 at 2.3 million, according to the latest study. This means that certified used vehicles accounted for almost 21% of the used market.
Despite rising sales of used vehicles as the economy slowly recovers, retail prices remain high. With a 6% gain in year-over-year used prices, 2014 posted record high average used vehicle retail values. The average price for a used vehicle sold at a dealership last year was $16,800, compared to $15,900 in 2013. In 2014, the average one-year old vehicle sold for almost $30,000, 5.7% percent higher than in 2013.
“We fully expect certified popularity to continue throughout 2015 because many leased cars are being returned to the dealership in excellent shape and lightly used cars are being traded in at faster rates than in previous years. This allows dealers to maintain a large Certified Pre-Owned inventory,” said Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell, the source of the data.
“Lightly used cars are very appealing to car shoppers since they are equipped with modern technology and have already taken their biggest depreciation hit,” said Caldwell, who pointed out that 19% of used vehicles sold in 2014 were one or two years old, up from 14% in 2013.
A decline in gas prices also raised prices as more shoppers went to larger vehicles, which typically cost more. In addition, low interest rates and longer loan repayment terms allow shoppers to buy more expensive vehicles with lower monthly payments. Despite higher average prices, the average monthly payment for used cars financed in 2014 was $370, three dollars less than the all-time high that was reached in 2007.