SANTA MONICA, Calif. — reported this week that used-car prices have fallen to their lowest levels in four years, with the vehicle information site’s data indicated that the used-car market is finally softening after years of notoriously elevated prices.

According to’s Used Car Market Quarterly Report, the average price of used cars sold by franchised dealers was $15,617 in the third quarter, a 2.8 percent decline from the previous quarter and 0.9 percent lower than the year-ago period. The last time used-car prices fell to such a low level was in the third quarter 2009, when the average price for used cars sold franchised dealerships was $14,808.

“Now that the new-car market has hit its stride, buyers are no longer drawn to used cars the way they have been in recent years,” said Joe Spina,’s director of used car analysis. “Used-car prices will likely continue to decline in the coming months simply because there will be more of these vehicles sitting on dealer lots.”

While softer prices are a good sign for used-car buyers, pointed out that prices are still relatively higher than they were before the recession. Average used-car prices crossed the $15,000 threshold for the first time at the end of 2009 and have remained above that level ever since. At their peak, used-car prices averaged $16,473 in the second quarter 2011.