Although new car sales have been on the continual decline for the last six months or so, used car sales have actually seen an increase over the same period. Even during the month of January - when some automakers experience more than a 50 percent drop off in new car sales - used car sales were up an impressive 10 percent.
As you might expect, the jump in used car sales is directly linked to the weakening economy. Used cars offer thousands in savings without much of a downside, leading many buyers to skip the new car showroom in favor of used car lots.
But as more and more people flock to quality used cars, prices are increasing - despite the down economy. Steve Jardine, a dealership owner in New York, told Newsweek that a 2006 Toyota 4Runner was selling for about $14,000 in November, but can now easily fetch $19,000. And with fewer new cars being sold, resulting in fewer used cars on the market, Jardine predicts used car prices "will go even higher".
However, if you currently own a late-model, low-mileage car, you could benefit from the recent market shift. Dealers are doing everything they can to secure quality used cars, even offering some owners a new car without increasing payments.