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Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Used Car? End of the Year Expectations

If you’re asking this question, it’s clear you’re on the fence about getting yourself a ride. The only thing you’re sure about is you want a used car. You’ve made a smart decision, no doubt. A used car costs less than a new car and deprecates at a slower rate.

However, as much as you’ll save money when you buy a used car, you still want the best deal. There are several factors that affect the cost of used cars, including the time of the year and the state of the economy. In this article, we’re telling you whether it’s wise to move into the market right now and snap up a used car.

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Is Affecting the Used Car Market

The biggest reason you’re wondering whether now is a good time to buy a used car is the COVID-19 pandemic.

The coronavirus, which reached America’s shores sometime in January, has caused untold economic destruction. Millions of businesses have shut down or suspended operations. Millions have workers have lost their jobs. If you’re thinking of buying a car, it’s safe to say the pandemic hasn’t significantly affected your finances; otherwise, you wouldn’t be thinking of spending money on a car.

So, how has the pandemic affected the used car market?

Before we go deeper, it’s worth noting that the used car market is part of the wider automotive industry. Overall, the industry, being a non-essential service provider, has been affected negatively. Automotive factories shut down for several months, although they’re now restarting operations with the appropriate measures in place.

The Used Car Market Is Getting Hotter

When you come to the used car market, though, it’s a different story. There’s increased demand for used cars, and it’s easy to see why. Coronavirus spreads easily in a crowd of people. As such, mass transportation methods are being avoided. If you don’t want to use mass transportation and you don’t have a car because you never needed one, now you need it. You’re much safer in your own car than on a train or plane.

Unfortunately, when the demand for a product or service goes up substantially, the price also shoots upwards. This is what’s happening in the used car market. As of October 2020, the average price of a used car had shot up 15 percent compared to the same time in 2019.

This is to say, a used car that had a price tag of $20,000 last year will now cost you over $23,000. $3K more is a lot of money, which you could use to purchase auto insurance and meet other car expenses.

Because of the higher used car prices, it might not be a good time to buy a car, especially if you’re on a tight budget. It’s better to wait till the COVID-19 pandemic is contained, after which used car prices will start falling.

The Case for Attractive End-Year Deals

History, the end of the year has always been a good time to snap up a car, new or used. At this time, many dealerships are offering attractive discounts in a bid to clear stock or meet annual sales targets.

How has this changed in 2020?

The pandemic has affected dealerships big-time, no doubt. For several months, dealerships weren’t allowed to welcome potential buyers. Although some dealerships have effective online operations, buying online cannot replace a physical buying process. Buyers still want to see the car, touch it, and take it on a test drive.

The good news?

Car dealerships are gradually reopening across the country and they’re trying to make up for several months of lost sales. To do this, they are offering discounts and other incentives. Although these incentives aren’t as attractive as those you’d find in a normal year, it’s still a good opportunity to purchase a quality used car at a great price. A lot will depend on your ability to find the right dealership, as not all dealerships are advertising their on-going incentives.

Do extensive research. Go online and look up various used car dealerships and see what they’re offering. Reach out to friends and family and ask them if they know of dealerships offering used car discounts.

Buying a Used Car from an Individual

Although it’s always preferable to buy a used car from a trusted dealership, it’s also possible to buy from an individual.  There’s nothing wrong with buying a used car from an individual. However, it’s a lot riskier. With a trusted dealership, you’ve got the assurance that you’re buying a car with a history that you can verify. Since such dealerships don’t want to hurt their trustworthiness, they’re unlikely to sell used cars in bad condition.

With an individual, you’ve to rely on their word. Sure, you can ask a mechanic to assess the car, but there are issues a regular mech cannot identify. You might end up buying a car that won’t go a hundred miles before breaking down. You really have to be alert when buying a used car from an individual, especially when the deal is sweet. Ensure you have a car expert to help you make a decision. It also helps to understand your state’s lemon laws before making the purchase.

So, is now a good time to buy a used car?

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. 2020 is a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand (and price) for used cars, but it’s still possible to snag a sweet deal. It largely depends on where you are and your car-hunting skills.

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