2024 is looking to be a more stable year for car shoppers, experts say

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The wholesale prices car dealers pay for the used cars they later sell stayed essentially flat in January compared to December.

The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index tracks the prices dealers pay because trends in wholesale pricing tend to become trends in retail pricing after a six-to-eight-week lag. The index is down 9.2% from a year ago but unchanged from a month ago.

Kelley Blue Book’s parent company, Cox Automotive, owns auction company Manheim Inc., which publishes the index.

“With the volatility we saw last year, it was a welcome sign for the industry to have a calmer month,” said Jeremy Robb, senior director of Economic and Industry Insights for Cox Automotive.

Check out: 10 of the best and coolest sports cars you can get used for under $30,000

The average used car price rose slightly in December but remained 3% lower than a year before.

Kelley Blue Book analysts expect 2024 to be a stable, predictable year for car shoppers, barring any unexpected disruptions to global trade. “As we move into tax refund season, we expect to see a bit more activity in the wholesale market, and we maintain that 2024 should show more normal market trends through the year,” Robb says.

Also see: 10 of the cheapest new 3-row SUVs for 2024

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased by 6.3% in January, powered by views of the present situation jumping 9.6% and to the highest level since March 2020. Consumer confidence was up 8.3% year over year. Plans to purchase a vehicle in the next six months declined to the lowest level since April and were down year over year.

This story originally ran on KBB.com.

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