Midday Market Minute: Used Cars Get More Affordable as New Car Sales Pick Up

Have we got a deal for you on a used car. Really. It's all about supply and demand.

Prices for used cars have been soaring ever since the recession, because so many drivers tried to squeeze that very last mile out of their old clunker.

That meant there were relatively few good condition, late model cars and trucks on car dealer lots.

Used cars
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But now, with new car sales revving up, consumers are trading in their old cars, and the supply of in-demand used vehicles is finally coming into balance with demand. As a result, prices are starting to come back down.

According to Adesa Services analyst Tom Kontos, used vehicle prices fell 4½ percent in April, compared to a year ago. The average wholesale price is nearly $10,000.

The price for minivans and full-size crossovers have both tumbled by more than 10 percent during the past year. But pickup trucks and full-size vans have continued to increase in price.

There are other surveys, however, prices newer models have leveled off, but not really declined very much.

USA Today, citing figures from Edmunds.com, says prices on those sought-after, late model cars sold by major automakers have declined by less than one percent. Edmunds says the average price for those dealership "cream puffs" is $15,793.

Analysts say that if you're thinking about trading in your car, don't wait. Prices are near their peak.

On the other hand, if you're looking to buy used, don't be in too much of a rush. Prices are likely to come back down some more during the next few months.

Earlier this year, the car shopping website CarGurus, reported that used cars were cheaper in and around heavily populated urban areas.

It recommends that you expand your search area, maybe traveling as far as two hours away, in order to get the best deal.

It's always a good idea to get vehicle history reports and to pay a local mechanic to do a quick once-over to make sure there are no major problems.

Before heading out the door, there are plenty of research sites you can use. Among the most popular: Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, NADA, cars.com and our own AOL Autos.