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Used Car Prices at Record Highs

May 12, 2011

Used car prices hit the stratosphere last month, setting an all time record.

The combination of low supply and increased demand is the main culprit, with Japan's parts shortages adding fuel to the fire.

The biggest price increases are on hybrids, compacts and subcompacts thanks to rising fuel costs.

If you're in the market to sell or trade-in your used car, then it's all good - at least until August.

At that point gas prices are expected to drop back to normal levels.

Keep in mind that if you leased a car within the last 3 years and the lease is coming to an end soon, your vehicle is probably worth more than the buyout price.

You could potentially make several thousand dollars by "flipping" it - essentially buying it, then reselling it right away. (See: How to Profit from an End of Lease Buyout.

Though used car prices are high, you'll still get a better deal than buying new as long as the vehicle is at least 2 years old.

Analysts expect used car prices to start heading lower in October.

That's when the new car market will likely rebound from Japan's troubles, making the used car market soft and thus giving you a better deal.

See the lowest prices on a vehicle in your area (plus see the actual incentives you qualify for)
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My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise, and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.

California Residents - Important:

There is a new online car buying service called Roadster, available only to California residents, which I highly recommend you try - especially if you hate the stress of haggling with a car salesman. They provide an expert concierge who negotiates the price of the car and delivers it to your home with zero hassle - you never have to interact with a dealership. Here is my in-depth review of Roadster and why I recommend it.

- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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