• Dec 7th 2011 at 2:00PM
  • 159
You'll be better off bying a used car before 2012 arriv... You'll be better off bying a used car before 2012 arrives (Valerie Everett, Flickr).
Used car prices could go up 4% to 6% in 2012, which means buyers sitting on the fence may want to start shopping before prices escalate.

The price increase will come after several months of declining prices in 2011, according to a recent report from Kelley Blue Book.

Since peaking in June, used vehicle values have declined 10%, a result of automotive market cooling due to cheaper gas prices and the end of supply constraints for Japanese automakers. In October alone, prices decreased 2.6% overall.

"Considering the already significant declines in used-car values since June, Kelley Blue Book predicts that values will decline an additional 3 to 4 percent by the end of the year," said Alec Gutierrez, manager of vehicle valuation for Kelley Blue Book.

Used car prices usually drop at the end of the year, Gutierrez said, due to a drop in demand that lasts through the holiday season. This year should stick with that trend, he said.

The good times, however, won't last. KBB projects used car values bouncing back significantly in the first quarter of 2012.

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"Since 2009, used-vehicle registrations in the first quarter have increased by 15% to 20% on average from the preceding fourth quarter, and since we expect a similar increase in demand in 2012," said Gutierrez.

That's partially because of the financial crisis in 2008, when leasing all but disappeared. Cars that are returned at the end of a lease go into the used car market -- and because leasing declined in 2008, there are fewer cars coming into the used car market today.

Used car values historically rise in the first quarter of a given year, so it's going to be in the consumer's best interest to buy before 2012. You could save some significant coin.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Anyone who has been in the used vehicle business knows that tax refunds stimulate the market in the 1st quarter enabling customers to make the down payment necessary to purchase on credit.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Used cars and trucks are high because of the price of new. Especially trucks. A new pick-up will cost 25,000 to 30,000 and that is not the "loaded' one everyone wants. for a real shock check the price on good 6 to 10 year old trucks and SUV's (the real ones, not mini-vans). Expect more as the cars get ever smaller and the same happens to the trucks. Example: the mini-van based perlamement for the Explorer or the replacement for the Trailblazer(also front drive mini-van based).
      • 3 Years Ago
      BAD time to raise prices. People can'y afford to pay for what they got now! Idiots!
      • 3 Years Ago
      This guy's picture looks like he's a dork! And it sounds like someone paid him to write anyways. And since when have gas prices gone down enough to make used car sales hurt?!??? WTH?
      • 3 Years Ago
      hey Mike, you sell bridges too?
      • 3 Years Ago
      By far, the cheapest way to own a good car is to buy one two or three years off lease and then keep it until it has no useful life left. The first guy paid most of the new car cost from depreciation, anywhere from 20% to 40% off the original list. Then, follow the owner's manual maintenance schedule and change the engine oil every 4-5 thousand miles. Most cars today are just stretching their legs at the 100,000 mile mark and should be good for another 100 grand, easily.
      • 3 Years Ago
      prices increase in the 1st quarter because of tax refunds
      • 3 Years Ago
      They forgot to figure in that whenObama tried to kill the car market with his ignorant cash for clunkers plan which failed, he drove the used car market prices up and we are just now replentishing that used market avaliabilty so that new influx will actually drive prices down as now more used vehicles are entering the market and new car sales are rising which means more trade ins.
        • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Deals are always out there! You just have to be patient enough to look and find them!
      • 3 Years Ago
      total aol b.s. - Used cars are in demand -period - as long as they are well kept and with in 5 -6 years old- AOL stands for ******** out loud!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Keep your money and save it, Put it aside if you can and save for repair bills, it's a whole lot cheaper than facing payment new or used with an uncertain economy we will be facing for years to come
      • 3 Years Ago
      daniel you sell used cars dont you
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