Used Car Prices Higher — Here’s Where to Find the Best Bargains

The average price of a used car hit a record high in the second quarter of this year. But a few models remain a good deal for buyers.

Used Car Prices Higher — Here’s Where to Find the Best Bargains Photo (cc) by MSVG

The average price of a used car hit a record high during the second quarter of this year — $18,800, Edmunds reports.

That’s an increase of $1,300, or 7.6 percent, from the second quarter of last year.

The average used car is not only getting pricier but also younger, according to Edmunds’ latest Used Vehicle Market Report. Factors like an influx of lease returns have skewed used-car inventories.

Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis, says that nonetheless it’s possible to find a deal on a used car, especially among younger used models:

“Because there’s a growing inventory of newer used cars, the prices on these vehicles seem to be more consumer-friendly than in the past.

“Three-year-old used cars, for example, have more bells and whistles than older used cars, and they’re actually selling for less than they did just one year ago. Compare that to vehicles aged 8 and over, whose prices are up 11 percent or more, on average, over last year.”

When CBS MoneyWatch asked Edmunds to find deals on 2012 models, their analysts found sedans selling for less than their 3-year-old counterparts sold for one year ago.

By contrast, all 2012 large SUVs and pickups are up in price. Still, analysts found models whose prices had increased by less than their competitors from one year ago.

The models that Edmunds recommended to CBS are:

  • Subaru Impreza – small car
  • Nissan Altima – midsize sedan
  • Hyundai Tucson – compact crossover SUV
  • Dodge Durango – large SUV
  • Honda Ridgeline – pickup truck

For help with auto loans, visit the Money Talks News Solutions Center’s “Car Loans: Are You Paying Too Much?” page.

For more help with car shopping, check out:

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Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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