Used-car buyers are resembling new-car buyers more and more and so is used-car inventory.
The percentage of prime and super prime consumers choosing used vehicles reached an all-time high in the first quarter, according to Experian.
The average loan amount for a used vehicle was $20,137, with an average monthly payment of $391.
These prime buyers are buying more near-new units. The average age of a used vehicle dropped to 4.3 years in the first quarter, according to Edmunds.
“Used vehicles today actually look a lot like new vehicles,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ senior manager of industry analysis.
These newer cars have about 300 fewer miles on them on average. The average mileage on a used vehicle dipped to 51,349 miles, compared to more than 61,162 five years ago.
Of course, they are also less likely to be cars. SUVs constituted 40 percent of the used vehicle market in the first quarter., with trucks making up another 14 percent.
Popular vehicle technology has proliferated across the spectrum of vehicles in the past decade and an increasing number of features are now available on the used market.
For the 2015 model year, Bluetooth was available on nearly 80 percent of vehicles, compared to just 40 percent for 2009 model year vehicles. For 2015 model year vehicles, backup cameras were available on more than 50 percent of used cars, compared to less than 20 percent for 2009 model year vehicles.
These newer vehicles with more technology naturally come with a higher price.
The average transaction price of a used car hit $20,247, a record for the first quarter.
However, the used market should remain robust because new-car prices are rising even faster, reaching $36,597 in the first quarter.
“Although used car prices are up year-over-year, the gap between new and used continues to widen,” Drury said.