It’s car-buying season but many hopeful buyers are ending up with a severe case of sticker shock this year because used car prices are higher than ever.

Car dealer Gary Heflin is busy these days with all the people shopping for used cars. He was showing SUV’s to gym owner Eric Oliver who has previously bought two cars from here.

“You know I do prefer buying used. You can get some good used vehicles in good shape,” Oliver said.

But used cars are not such bargains anymore. reporting prices up 14% the past year. Gary says it has to do with the new car prices hitting a record 40,000 combined with buyers flush with stimulus checks.

“There’s a lot of people in the market. It’s just like home sales and car sales, they are both doing well,” Heflin said. “But there’s a shortage in both markets that drives up prices”

Most in demand? Jeeps and any kind of truck.

“Pickup trucks, cargo vans, work vehicles,” Heflin said.

Next to pickup trucks and jeeps, three-row SUVs for the family are the hottest sellers for families right now and unfortunately, you will pay a lot more for them right now.

Prices are so high on some two and three-year-old trucks and SUVs the automotive website says in some cases, the new version of that car may be a better deal.

Among the vehicles where new can be a smarter deal include the Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Tacoma Pickup, Toyota 4 runner, Nissan Frontier Pickup and Honda Pilot.

In many of those cases, you can get the car for just $2,800 more than a one-year-old version.

But let’s say you want to spend less than $15,000. Gary Heflin says buy a four-door sedan, not an SUV. He recommends three or four-year-old Kias and Hyundais because they come with a five-year manufacturer warranty.

Under $10,000? He says there are not many low-mileage ones available. “If you find something under $10,000 that you feel good about, don’t wait!” Heflin said. Just have it inspected Gary warns because many cars under $10,000 can be money pits.

Feel like prices are too high for what you want? Drop down a car size and take your time so you don’t waste your money.