By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The pent-up demand for new and used cars continues and the prices certainly reflect a seller’s market.

Prices are high not just here, but across the nation.

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“We have a lack of inventory versus demand. The pent-up demand. Inventory not as good as it should be,” said Jonathan Chariff, Chief Executive Officer & Corporate Director at South Motors.

Prices are at record levels, with the average cost of a new car topping $40,000 and used cars are up nearly 30 percent in the last year.

The main reason for the high prices is a shortage of computer chips.

Production slowed when automakers scaled back due to COVID.

“Please understand when there used to be 60 to 90 day supply, some manufactures were down to 12-15 day supply,” said Chariff.

Chariff’s family has been in the South Florida car business for 60 years.

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South Motors sells multiple brands. Of course, he would like to sell you a car today, but he offers sage advice to folks who are trying to navigate the pricey market in tough economic times.

“It is all about shopping early, making a decision, and finding the right car for you,” Chariff adds.

Edging new car prices up is demand. Some manufacturers have pulled incentives such as loyalty programs and banks might not offer zero financing. Also, used cars dealers are retaining off-lease cars for resale and are even straight out purchasing preowned vehicles to satisfy consumer demand.

It all makes for finding a car deal very difficult.

Chariff offers advice for those shopping for wheels, “Try not to overspend because sometimes a consumer will spend more than they are comfortable with and find the right price.”

Patience for the consumer might be the key and preordering your new or used ride might be the way to go.

“Come in early and figure out what you want. See if the dealer has it. If they place an order, you will have a better idea when that vehicle will come in,” said Chariff.

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If you must buy now, experts say the best prices are on sedans because they’re less popular.