Americans replacing vehicles lost in Hurricanes Harvey and Irma pushed used-vehicle prices higher in September. In a related move, Manheim has refined its estimates of vehicle losses caused by those hurricanes.
Wholesale used-vehicle prices increased 2.8 percent from August. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index -- which measures wholesale prices adjusted for vehicle mix, mileage and season -- rose to a record 134.9, a fifth straight monthly record high and 6.3 percent higher than a year ago.
"Most of the pricing strength can be directly attributed to the recovery following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma," Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of Cox Automotive, the parent company of Manheim, said in a statement. "Both the replacement demand and reduction in available supply is causing widespread wholesale inventories to tighten."
That will cause wholesale price gains for at least another month or two, he said. Smoke expects the replacement demand to be roughly 400,000 vehicles.
Cox Automotive estimated that September used-car sales jumped 8 percent from the year-earlier month. The seasonally adjusted, annualized selling rate for used vehicles increased to 40.4 million last month from 38.1 million in August.
The retail growth in used-vehicle volume comes from vehicles less than 4 years old, which are running 6 percent higher so far this year than in the first nine months of 2016.