Highlights:

  • While the average price for a used car is $34,227, the price shifts $6,173 between the most and least expensive U.S. cities
  • Cleveland-Akron is the least expensive area to buy a used car, with an average price of $31,458, or 8.1 percent, below the national average
  • West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce is the most expensive area to buy a used car, with an average price of $37,632, or 9.9 percent, above the national average
  • The Ram 1500 has the biggest price difference between the least and most expensive cities, costing $7,795 more in Denver than it does in Cleveland
  • The Chevrolet Malibu and Toyota Tacoma have the biggest percentage difference between the least and most expensive cities, with a more than 17 percent shift in how much a buyer can pay for these models

Used car shoppers willing to look beyond their local market could save substantial money on their next purchase, depending on where they live and how far they can travel. iSeeCars analyzed over 6.5 million used cars across the U.S. to compare the average prices in each of the 50 largest metro areas and discovered a wide spectrum of pricing among them. Between the most and least expensive markets, Cleveland-Akron versus West Palm Beach-Ft. Piearce, the price difference for the average 1- to 5-year-old used car was more than $6,100.

“Research and flexibility are two powerful assets for used car shoppers,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer. “Buyers in Cleveland and Cincinnati, the top two cities with the least expensive cars, are already living in the lowest-cost cities and can shop locally. But used car buyers in the most expensive cities like West Palm Beach and Denver might want to research bus and plane schedules as part of their shopping process.”

The Top 10 Least Expensive Cities To Buy a Used Car

Three markets in Ohio make the list of top 10 cheapest used car cities, suggesting used car prices are generally lower in the Buckeye State. Buyers in all 10 of the least expensive cities are likely to find attractive used car pricing in their local markets. The ability to save between $1,700 and $2,700 could still justify the time and effort to travel to the least expensive cities to buy used cars, especially for shoppers who live relatively close to them. 

“While these cities have attractive overall used car pricing, buyers in these markets still need to look at specific models to confirm they can’t find a better deal somewhere else,” said Brauer. “It’s easy to research car pricing, both locally and nationally, so there’s no reason not to look beyond your area to get a sense of how much prices vary for a given model.”

10 Least Expensive Cities To Buy Used Cars – iSeeCars Study
Rank Metro Area Average Price of Used Cars % Price Difference from National Average $ Price Difference from National Average
1 Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH $31,458 -8.1% -$2,769
2 Cincinnati, OH $31,622 -7.6% -$2,605
3 Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA $31,901 -6.8% -$2,326
4 Fresno-Visalia, CA $31,912 -6.8% -$2,315
5 Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL $31,971 -6.6% -$2,256
6 Detroit, MI $31,990 -6.5% -$2,238
7 Columbus, OH $32,177 -6.0% -$2,050
8 Pittsburgh, PA $32,286 -5.7% -$1,942
9 Indianapolis, IN $32,418 -5.3% -$1,809
10 Oklahoma City, OK $32,443 -5.2% -$1,784
National Average $34,227 -- --

The Top 10 Most Expensive Cities To Buy a Used Car

The most expensive cities to buy a used car are widely scattered throughout the U.S., with West Palm Beach, Denver, Austin, and Seattle ranking in the top four slots. Florida and Texas each have two cities on the list, but cities in Colorado, Washington, Utah, North Carolina, California, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire also make an appearance. Paying between $1,000 and $3,400 above the average used car price is even more costly for buyers financing a used car purchase in this high interest rate environment.

“Used car buyers in the most expensive markets should look to nearby cities to save money on their next purchase,” said Brauer. “For instance, while West Palm Beach, Florida, has the highest average used car price, Orlando is one of the cheapest cities and is less than 200 miles away.”

10 Most Expensive Cities To Buy Used Cars – iSeeCars Study
Rank Metro Area Average Price of Used Cars % Price Difference from National Average $ Price Difference from National Average
1 West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL $37,632 9.9% $3,404
2 Denver, CO $37,233 8.8% $3,005
3 Austin, TX $36,827 7.6% $2,599
4 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $36,593 6.9% $2,366
5 Salt Lake City, UT $36,356 6.2% $2,129
6 Charlotte, NC $35,976 5.1% $1,748
7 Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX $35,751 4.5% $1,524
8 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $35,479 3.7% $1,252
9 Los Angeles, CA $35,420 3.5% $1,193
10 Boston, MA-Manchester, NH $35,268 3.0% $1,041
National Average $34,227 -- --

The Best and Worst Cities To Buy Top-Selling Used Cars

Looking at the nation’s 25 best-selling cars illustrates how much money can be saved – or “lost” – based on where a car is bought. The Ram 1500 has the biggest price difference of $7,795, ranging from a high of $47,159 in Denver, the most expensive city, to a low of $39,364 in the Cleveland-Akron metro area. 

“Imagine a Ram 1500 buyer in Denver who doesn’t know about the $7,800 savings available on the same truck in Akron, Ohio,” said Brauer. “Even with a $300 plane ticket, plus two days spent driving 1,400 miles, a Denver shopper gets ‘paid’ $3,750 a day traveling to Ohio to buy that vehicle compared to someone who buys it locally in Denver.”

Most and Least Expensive Cities To Buy Popular Used Cars – iSeeCars Study
Model Least Expensive Metro Area Average Price Most Expensive Metro Area Average Price % Savings $ Savings
Chevrolet Malibu Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $18,417 Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX $22,339 17.6% $3,923
Toyota Tacoma Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $32,373 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $39,167 17.3% $6,794
Ram 1500 Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH $39,364 Denver, CO $47,159 16.5% $7,795
Jeep Grand Cherokee Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $31,742 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $37,419 15.2% $5,677
Ford F-150 Columbus, OH $38,955 Salt Lake City, UT $45,910 15.2% $6,956
Toyota RAV4 Jacksonville, FL $27,297 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $31,934 14.5% $4,637
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $36,523 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $42,621 14.3% $6,097
Honda Civic Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $22,691 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $26,422 14.1% $3,731
GMC Sierra 1500 Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH $44,208 Greensboro-Winston Salem, NC $51,324 13.9% $7,116
Ford Explorer Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $32,143 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $37,293 13.8% $5,151
Subaru Outback Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, MI $26,944 Austin, TX $31,153 13.5% $4,209
Tesla Model 3 Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN $36,156 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $41,803 13.5% $5,647
Chevrolet Equinox Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $20,581 Milwaukee, WI $23,742 13.3% $3,162
Hyundai Elantra Salt Lake City, UT $17,594 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $20,286 13.3% $2,692
Subaru Crosstrek Salt Lake City, UT $24,689 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $28,291 12.7% $3,601
Toyota Highlander Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $34,222 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $38,933 12.1% $4,711
Nissan Rogue Salt Lake City, UT $22,546 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $25,517 11.6% $2,971
Honda CR-V Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL $26,591 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $30,024 11.4% $3,433
Mazda CX-5 Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $24,566 Seattle-Tacoma, WA $27,653 11.2% $3,087
Honda Accord Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $25,040 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $27,842 10.1% $2,802
Toyota Camry Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $24,159 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $26,858 10.1% $2,699
Jeep Wrangler Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL $34,183 Salt Lake City, UT $37,842 9.7% $3,658
Toyota Corolla Greensboro-Winston Salem, NC $20,218 Las Vegas, NV $22,351 9.5% $2,133
Hyundai Tucson Tampa-St Petersburg (Sarasota), FL $22,639 Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM $24,824 8.8% $2,185
Tesla Model Y Hartford and New Haven, CT $48,510 Oklahoma City, OK $52,650 7.9% $4,140
With used car prices remaining near their record highs, and well above pre-COVID levels, used car buyers should be looking for every opportunity to save money on their next vehicle. The pricing disparity between major U.S. metro areas represents an excellent opportunity to enhance used car purchasing power in today’s market.

 

Methodology

iSeeCars analyzed over 6.5 million 1- to 5-year-old used cars sold from January through August 2023. The average listing prices of cars in each metro area were compared across the top 50 most populous markets, as well as the prices of top-selling models.

 

About iSeeCars.com

iSeeCars.com is a data-driven car search and research company that helps shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, including the iSeeCars VIN Check report and Best Cars Rankings. iSeeCars has saved users over $410 million so far by applying big data analytics powered by over 25 billion (and growing) data points and using proprietary algorithms to objectively analyze, score and rank millions of new cars and used cars.