The latest from consumer report company NADAGuides shows that prices for used fuel-efficient vehicles are still going through the roof. Some of this might seem like old news, but those who want to get their hands on a second-hand fuel saver are waiting with baited breath for the winds of change to knock those private party resale values back down to where they were at last year. According to the newest studies from NADA researchers, that’s not likely to happen soon. In a press release this morning, NADA identified a list of 2006-2009 models of gas-efficient rides that are still experiencing increases in trade-in values, relative to January.
Some prime examples include the Toyota Prius, which, with an expected average sale price of $15,925 for August, shows a 30% increase January to August. During the same time period, the values for the Kia Rio have gone up 21.8%, the Chevrolet Aveo has gone up 20.9%, and the Kia Spectra has increased 18.6%. Sale prices for a few other vehicles, including the Toyota Yaris, the Hyundai Accent, and the Nissan Versa, have popped up to the tune of 15-17%.
All of this has some of the used auto market in a holding pattern: buyers are waiting to get more realistic resale prices, while sellers are often looking to take advantage of the fact that their old cars are now actually a lot more valuable than they used to be. Meanwhile, dealers who can are scooping up these vehicles, which still have a lot of life in them, and showing them off in their lots to attract customers who still think the old-school way: that new-car depreciation is a constant.
One way to try for one of these fuel-efficient cars at a reasonable price is to do a good bit of research about what’s part of a larger inventory in your area. This can help you talk the dealer down to a common-sense sales number. But even at prices closer to January’s than to August’s, buyers can still end up paying a lot more when they don’t take a good look at their financing agreement. Unless you plan to buy with cash, make sure that you get the best interest rates and low fees that you qualify for, or you might be paying even more extra on top of the inflated resale value. It may be worth getting a car that uses less gas to hedge against future price spikes for this finite commodity, but doing your homework on pricing and financing ensures that you don’t pay too much for this investment up front.