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Used-vehicle prices in August to exceed those in January, NADA guide predicts

Wholesale prices of late-model, fuel-efficient used cars peaked in June but will be higher in August than they were in January, predicts the senior analyst at NADA Used Car Guide.

Jonathan Banks says prices of some popular, 2006-09 cars such as Toyota Prius, are expected to be as much as 30 percent higher next month than they were at the first of the year.

Used-vehicle prices typically peak in March and depreciate about 15 percent by year end, Banks says. But because of a tighter supply and strong demand for used vehicles, prices peaked in June. And prices of some fuel-efficient cars are expected to be 10 percent to 30 percent higher in August than in January.

For example, data compiled by NADA guide predicts that the average wholesale price of a 2006-09 Prius in August will be $15,925. That is almost 8 percent below its peak of $17,275 in June and 30 percent higher than the average price of $12,225 in January.

The average price of a 2006-09 Chevrolet Aveo is expected to be $6,375 in August, 8 percent lower that its peak of $6,950 in June, but 21 percent higher than its price of $5,275 in January.

Banks says used vehicle prices are expected remain relatively high the rest of the year, dropping about 6 percent from August through December. Depending on new-vehicle incentives, which affect used-vehicle prices, much of the decline is expected to occur July through September, coinciding with the new model year, he adds.

“Dealers paid the highest prices they should pay for small cars in May and June,” Banks says. “We are not expecting a so-called correction. What we are expecting is depreciation.”

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