The used-car market has been good for dealers but not for finance departments, according to CNW Marketing December report. Most dealers are selling used vehicles at over 90 percent of asking price. Most used-vehicle customers, however, are paying cash for their purchases.

CNW reports another positive note, as both franchised and independent dealers’ transaction prices in the first half of December were the highest of the year, with franchised used-car-sale prices averaging $9,978, while independents average $8,561, which is an increase over 2006 transaction prices of $9,560 and $8,280, respectively.

CNW notes the first half of December shows an increase in used-car sales compared to last year, saying if the first 15 days of the month are any indication used-vehicle sales could be up close to a half percent versus a year ago. While December sales will be up if the month holds true to form, the full-year used volume would be about 41.5 million units sold, which would be down about 2.4 percent from 2006’s 42.6 million.

Of the 3.2 million sales in November, 50.7 percent (1.6 million units) required some form of a loan. Among franchised new-car dealers’ used-vehicle sales, 58 percent were financed in November vs. 64 percent back in January of this year.

CNW Marketing attributed these drops in financing to the caution of lenders caused by the credit crunch. More customers bought within their means, looking to used-vehicles that they could afford through trade-in or with cash.