Car price bubble

fortee9erfortee9er Houston, TXMember Posts: 134
edited November 2016 in General
I browse through Craigslist everyday, for most regions of the country. What I see is a price bubble in older cars.
For most people the economy sucks so where is anyone going to dig up $20k plus for an old American car that is just a meat and potatoes car not something rare and desirable. Maybe it's just me being a cheap wad what do you guys think?


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    I think used car prices are easing. But the numbers through the second quarter indicate that prices for everything except small cars is high. The next report won't be out for a few weeks, and I suppose the craigslist sellers won't read the news anyway, and will continue to inflate their asking prices.

    Prices of used subcompact, compact and midsize cars fall, despite record high prices in used car market overall
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Asking prices are nothing more than people exercising their First Amendment Rights. Car values are determined by buyers, not sellers or price guides.

    So you, as the buyer, have the power. You see a car you like, you offer what you think it is worth. If you keep losing the deal on each car with your offers, and someone else buys them for more, then you're below the market. But if you make an offer and the car just sits there for weeks and weeks, you were probably correct or nearly correct.

    We are also in an era of cheap and easy car loans, and, unfortunately, many buyers don't even look at the selling price, they just want to know the monthly payments.
  • fortee9erfortee9er Houston, TXMember Posts: 134
    Thank you both for your comments.
    Stever, the age segment of cars I look at are at least 20 years old. I am interested in cars from 1950 through the mid 90s.
    Shifty, You are absolutely correct about the dynamic of buying and selling. But neither answer my question.
    I have been buying old cars for a few decades now. Some people read the financial pages I read classified ads. Publications that track collector car prices are totally useless. Who cares what was paid for a car at Pebble Beach or BJ. What puzzles me is the 5 figure asking prices for old family cars, old grocery getters. Absolutely nothing that would have set them apart from the norm in their day. Is this a function of the lower purchasing power of the dollar, generational nostalgia...etc.
    I am looking for an objective opinion.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh,, I can answer that. The high asking prices you see are because the owner is buried in the car financially, and thinks that the market will underwrite his restoration costs.

    It won't, or rarely does, unless perhaps he has something ultra rare and desirable.

    My rule of thumb is that if someone buys a car for a certain $$$, and then can easily re-sell it at that same price, and the next buyer could resell it again for that same price---THEN we can say with assurance that the car was worth that.

    But if Buyer B sees a 1954 Chevy 4 Door for sale for $30,000, and it's the same color as the one his grandpa used to own, and he buys it for that inflated price---well, that's not the "market" for that car. That's just a database of ONE.

    Same with some high auction price during a drunken orgy of bidding. That's just one.

    The patient buyer can still be rewarded with a fair deal if he is diligent.

  • fortee9erfortee9er Houston, TXMember Posts: 134
    Dear Shifty,
    I bought many cars over the years. Some I've kept others I've sold. On balance I've kept more than sold. In the wake of the "great recession" they now represent my savings account. My "retirement account" is no more all I have left is my old cars.
    It's a sad commentary that that which was my hobby and treated as such has taken greater importance and concern.
    Thank you for your comment and reinforcing the importance of being persistent chasing a good deal.

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