Despite headwinds, used-car sales are “gaining momentum” in what appears to be a bit of a summer “surprise,” according to a Cox Automotive analysis.

Based on vehicle registration data, the company estimates there were 3.02 million total used vehicles sold in July, up from 2.96 million in June. While that’s down from July 2022, sales have now climbed sequentially for two straight months.

Used retail sales (those occurring at a dealership) were estimated at 1.60 million, up from 1.57 million in June and 1.56 million in May, but down from 1.72 million a year ago, according to the Cox data.

Year-to-date total retail used sales are up 6%, the company said.

The seasonally adjusted annualized rate for total used-car sales was 35.5 million in July, down from the revised 35.8 million in June and July 2022’s 38.4 million SAAR.

The used retail SAAR was 18.8 million, compared to the revised June figure of 19.0 million and the July 2022 figure of 20.2 million.

“Used retail supply is still considered tight by historic norms,” Cox Automotive senior manager of economic and industry insights  Chris Frey said in a news release. “But used-vehicle sales volume, both total and at the retail level, have been gaining momentum through the summer.

“Prices have moderated some, which is providing some buying opportunities. Generally, though, with new-vehicle inventory improving and used-vehicle loan rates still sky-high, the used-vehicle market is facing headwinds.”