RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Used-car prices have increased so much in the Raleigh area that some of the most popular models are now considered unaffordable for the average person. 

We are a nation that relies on our wheels and with a shortage of new cars — many are turning to used vehicles. 

Used vehicles are in such demand that their values are way up,‘’ said Karl Brauer, an executive analyst at iSeeCars.  

That means that some used cars are now becoming unaffordable.

Really mainstream cars too like the Toyota Camry, the Honda Civic, and the Ford Escape,’’ said Brauer. 

Using the iSeeCars site, Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia found a 2021 Ford Escape selling for nearly $25,000 and a 2018 Escape with over 35,000 miles selling for nearly $24,000 within 50 miles of Raleigh. 

What makes them unaffordable? 

Here’s the formula. You take the monthly payment, plus your total income and that could equal an unaffordable vehicle. 

That’s how cars move out of affordability,” said Brauer.” They rise faster than people’s pay.” 

A recent iSeeCars survey found Raleigh ranked 21st out of 50 big metro areas where the price of the average used car here increased. In the Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville areas, those prices rose over $3,200 in a year. 

To get a more affordable used car, you’ve got to look further away and at older vehicles. 

Buyers looking to spend the same percentage of income have to go 7,  8 , or 9 years old,” said Brauer. 

For example, the IseeCars site had to search 250 miles away from Raleigh before finding a pair of 2008 Toyota Camrys selling for an affordable price of $9,000 to $12,000 — but they’re 14 years old. 

Cars that old need to be checked out. 

Getting a pre-purchase inspection from an unbiased mechanic is a good idea,’’ said Brauer. “It’s not just for those vehicles, but for any used car.” 

There is some hope in the coming year with more new cars being built — that may put less of a demand on used-car inventory — slowly dropping the prices of used cars.