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Good news: Used car prices finally drop

Don't Waste Your Money

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The past 3 years were tough for used car shoppers. Selection was weak, and prices were high, and getting higher every month.

Finally, though, the news is getting better if you are thinking of buying a used car.

Frustrating Time for Used Car Buyers

Car shoppers Steve and Tammy Petersen have been frustrated by used cars that were almost as expensive as new.

"Prices are a little elevated, so we are still looking for a good deal," Petersen said.

But there's good news in 2013: Those high prices are finally beginning to drop.

"Theres a definite change in the market," used auto dealer Gary Heflin said. "We have come off the lows of '07 and '08 as far as production."

Heflin, who owns Courtesy Automotive in Cincinnati,  says used car buyers were hit with a perfect storm in recent years:

    -First, the "Cash for Clunkers" program removed thousands of used cars from the market in 2009.

    -Second, automakers slashed production during the 2008 - 2010 recession.

That meant short supplies,and soaring prices. But that's all changed now.

Prices Starting to Fall

"There is much better supply of '10s and '11s and '12s on the market, because of the amount of cars produced in 07 and 08 was down, and now the markets are coming back,"  Heflin explained.

Prices are down even more on orphan brands like Saturn, Saab, Pontiac, and Mercury, even though those brands will still have dealer support and parts availability for years.

The one exception to the falling price trend:  Full size SUVs and pickups.

Prices remain high as people with boats and campers continue to hunt for larger vehicles with full frames.  Not many were sold from 2008 - 2010.

If you can afford to wait a bit longer, the used car supply line is expected to improve even more this fall, as more 2010 models flood the used car market.

Either way, though, it's starting to be a good time once again to buy a used car, and that way you don't waste your money.

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