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For Best Used Car Prices, Buy During Holiday Season

If you’re looking to purchase a used car in the near future, CarGurus, a car research and shopping site, says that now is the time to get the best deal, rather than waiting for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to subside.

According to a recent press release, the “CarGurus’ Used Car Price Index data shows used car prices typically hit their lowest average of the year in the period between Thanksgiving and the first week of January, before rapidly correcting by February as demand comes back in the New Year.”

Kelley Blue Book makes a similar recommendation about buying a used car now, rather than later. They expect there to be fewer leases and trade-ins, so as the demand for used cars continues to increase without a gain in supply, prices will climb.

CarGurus Founder and CEO Langley Steinert attributes the price drop to relatively low demand during the holiday season. With lower demand for used cars, dealers will likely be more generous in their negotiations in order to make sales.

“However,” Steinert says, “demand will come roaring back in the New Year, and dealers will be quick to adjust their prices.”

Data provided by CarGurus shows that in 2010, used car prices dropped 3.4 percent during the holiday season, and started rising again Jan. 8. In 2011, analysts found that used car prices dropped by 2.7 percent between late-August and Nov. 22, and are projected to decline another 2 percent by Jan. 8.

If you take a used car test drive in the near future, here are a couple things to consider:

-Remember to turn on the air conditioning system to ensure it works properly. It’s easy to overlook this during the colder winter months when drivers don’t typically use the air conditioner.

-If you’re concerned about getting traction on snowy or icy roads, the winter months are a good time to see if a vehicle you’re considering will meet your needs.

-Remember to get a report of the car’s history to make sure there are no surprises down the road, and also take the car to a third-party mechanic you trust to look it over.

-Do research to find transaction prices on similar models elsewhere to ensure you get the best deal.

Shopping for used car? Be sure to check out our pointers on test driving a used car. Compare used prices with this month’s best car deals for new cars. You can also skip negotiating with a dealer by using our Best Price Program. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.


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