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Dealers paying top dollar for used cars

There's a shortage of used cars nationwide.

May 18, 2011|Elizabeth Harrington | Reporter

ROANOKE, Va — Now is the best time to sell your used car. There's a shortage nationwide and dealers are paying top dollar.

"Very rarely do we pay more than book value for a used car but when there's a shortage we gotta have them," says Cameron Johnson at Magic City Ford Lincoln in Roanoke.

Johnson has seen used cars going for thousands more at auctions.

Used car prices are currently at a 16-year high because people are keeping their vehicles about a year longer than they did before the recession.

Dealers are paying an average of $11,600 for used vehicles. That's up 30% since December 2008.

There's also a rush of people trying to trade in large vehicles for smaller cars that have better fuel economy.

The short supply means people buying used cars will probably pay more.

"You may be paying a premium for a small car but the prices on SUVs and trucks have never been better," says Johnson.

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But as you've heard in advertisements, this deal won't last long. Experts predict the price for used cars will continue rising for about two more months and then level off.

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