RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With the production of new cars still lagging, people continue to turn to the used car market for options, but the demand for used cars continues to push prices up.
People are paying record prices for used cars and in many cases, they are settling for vehicles half a decade old or more. They are also paying prices for those vehicles that are higher than you’d expect.
To try and avoid overspending, you need to know where to look to get the best deals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of previously owned vehicles is up 37 percent. That translates into thousands of dollars.
“We’re talking about an $8,000 to 9,000 increase over the past 15 months,” said iSeeCars Executive Analyst Karl Brauer.
That means the price of the average used car in the Triangle now averages between $34,000 and $35,000.
The main reason for the rising cost is inventory.
For the last 18 months, people turned to late-model used cars because new car production has slowed down. Now, much of the supply of those gently used cars has been snapped up.
Brauer said now used car customers “have to go back six to seven model years to find a used car.”
That also means choosing vehicles with a mileage that averages 75,000 miles or more.
It also makes a difference where you buy the car.
A recent survey by iSeeCars showed huge disparities in car prices for the same vehicle across the country.
“Something like the Honda Civic, a common high-volume car, there’s about a $4,000 difference between the cheapest and most expensive city to buy that car in,” said Brauer.
So, what about car prices in the Triangle?
iSeeCars found the best used car deal was the Toyota Tacoma pickup.
When CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia checked within a 30-mile radius of Raleigh, he found 472 of them for sale.
“It would appear there are enough Toyota Tacoma’s in the Raleigh area to satisfy the demand,” said Brauer. “Compare that to the vehicle that’s most overpriced in Raleigh, the Chevy Silverado.”
When Sbraccia checked, he found the Silverado 1500 running between $15,000 and $42,000 depending on the model year.
Before you buy any used car, have it inspected.
“You really need a prepurchase inspection and vehicle history report,” said Brauer. “Make sure you know what you are getting.”
When looking for used vehicles, if you look outside the core Triangle area you may also do better price-wise in rural areas.