Edmunds: Used Car Prices Are Softening



Used car prices have hit their lowest levels in four years, according to Edmunds.com, with softer prices seen as a good sign for used car buyers.

Find out more about what Edmunds.com’s Joe Spina has to say.

Used car prices have hit their lowest levels in four years, says Edmunds.com, the premier resource for car shopping and automotive information. The data suggests that the used car market is finally softening after years of notoriously elevated prices.

According to Edmunds.com’s Used Car Market Quarterly Report, the average used car sold by franchise dealers in the third quarter of 2013 was $15,617. The average price was 2.8 percent lower than in the previous quarter, and 0.9 percent lower than in the third quarter of 2012. The last time used car prices ran so low was in the third quarter of 2009, when the average car sold at a franchise dealership was $14,808.

“Now that the new car market has hit its stride, buyers are no longer drawn to used cars the way they have been in recent years,” says Edmunds.com’s Director of Used Car Analysis Joe Spina. “Used car prices will likely continue to decline in the coming months simply because there will be more of these vehicles sitting on dealer lots.”

While softer prices are a good sign for used car buyers, Edmunds.com points out that prices still are relatively higher than they were before the recession. Average used car prices crossed the $15,000 threshold for the first time at the end of 2009, and have remained above that level ever since. At their peak, used car prices averaged $16,473 in the second quarter of 2011.

Shoppers looking to score the best deal on a used car may want to consider brands such as Volvo, GMC and Chevrolet; vehicles produced by those three automakers sat on used dealer lots longer than any other brand in the third quarter. At the other end of the spectrum, Japanese brands such as Honda, Toyota and Lexus were in the most demand in the third quarter — and therefore likely carried the most elevated prices.