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Used Car Prices Increase Sharply

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author photo by Cliff Turner

Average price of used cars appreciated nearly $8,000 from 2008

Many car shoppers feel slighted when they are offered a price for their trade in at the dealership. According to Kelly Blue Book, customers seeking a trade-in offer may now have something to smile about. Since 2008, the average value for a one to three year old used vehicle has risen 16% per year. A one to three year old used car in 2008 was worth an average of $15,000; in 2011 it would fetch around $23,000.

Industry analysts point to reduced car sales and leases as a major factor in used car supplies nationwide. It will likely be several years of strong new-car sales before the used car market returns to normal. While this is good news for people looking to trade in a vehicle for something newer, more economical shoppers will find the shortage discouraging. There is not only a much smaller selection of quality used and certified pre owned (CPO) vehicles, but the price is much higher.

"While the pace of used-car appreciation is likely to subside as supply, and ultimately sales, improve, we expect used-vehicle values to remain strong for the next two to three years," said Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book. "While depreciation typically affects a vehicle's value most in the first two years of ownership, it will not be as pronounced as it would have been a few years ago when the used-car supply was still very high. Consumers who plan to sell or trade-in a used car soon will likely see their vehicle hold its value well. Alternatively, shoppers in the market for a used car will continue to pay more, making it difficult to buy at a discount."

Shoppers interested in their own car's current value can also visit the Autotrader.com Trade-In Marketplace. The interactive website makes it easy for shoppers to get a guaranteed price for their car by answering a few easy questions. Once the shopper completes the information form, their vehicle is given a value and the shopper receives several offers from local dealers. The dealers guarantee to honor the trade-in or walk-away sale price, after a brief test drive.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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