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Now May Be The Time To Sell, Trade In Your Car As Experts Say Used Car Values Are At Historic Highs

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - At the beginning of the pandemic people were hoarding toilet paper and cleaning products. More recently, ketchup packets and chlorine have been in high demand. As supply chain shortages continue across the country now even auto sales are being affected.

In fact, CBS3's Jim Donovan finds that if you've got a vehicle sitting around that you're not using, now may be the time to sell it or trade it in.

Used car values are now at a record all-time high. Jessica Caldwell at says, "People are definitely getting more for their trade-ins, in fact, if you have a car at home, I would say check the value, see how much it's worth."

It's all due to a lack of supply and increased demand. According to Caldwell, "The dealers really need used cars right now, the market is really hot."

And it stems from the pandemic. A shortage of microchips needed to build vehicles has slowed down production, leaving less inventory at dealerships nationwide. Inventory of new trucks was down by 64% at the end of April compared to a year ago. SUV inventory was down by 44% and passenger cars were down by 42%.

Caldwell says, "There have been lower sales rates. That means fewer trade-ins. The rental companies aren't giving out their cars, they're trying to get more cars so they're not selling off rental vehicles. And a lot of people that are leasing are choosing to extend their leases because they can't get another vehicle, those are normally going to the used car pool."

As a result, used car prices have risen as buyers look for alternatives. So what's in demand? Pickup trucks lead the pack. Some heavy-duty pickups are holding up 80% of their original value.

Edmunds found that sports cars, SUV's and passenger cars aren't far behind in retaining their value.  A 3-year-old sports car is holding on average about 64-65% of its value. SUVs are in the 58-61% range and midsize, compact and large cars are retaining 57-58% of their value. While Edmunds surveyed 3-year-old vehicles, even models ten years and older have increased in value too.

So Caldwell recommends, "Shop around, I would say is definitely my advice, but just know that your car is definitely worth something."

You can get an idea of what your used vehicle is worth at a local dealership or by getting an appraisal online from sites like or Experts believe it will be a seller's market for at least the rest of the year.

To check out the top-ranked used vehicles based on retained value, click here.

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