Looking for a good deal on a used car? After years of increases, the market just might be shifting in the buyers’ favor.

Wholesale used car prices, which have risen steadily since bottoming out in the Great Recession, have fallen for three straight months, according to data from Manheim, which runs used car auctions around the country. Dealers, finance companies, and other businesses use Manheim auctions to buy and sell millions of vehicles that they’ll then sell to retail customers all over the country.

The average price for all vehicles at Manheim auctions in March were down 1.6% from a year earlier.

“This is good news for used car shoppers. Prices are falling. The selection is varied and abundant,” said Michelle Krebs senior analyst for Autotrader. “On the flip side, a car buyer looking to sell or trade-in won’t get as high a price as a year ago.” Both Autotrader and Manheim are part of Cox Automotive.

Large numbers of vehicles coming off leases have swelled stocks of late-model used cars and driven prices down.

Only dealers can buy cars from Manheim’s auctions, but the lower auction prices should filter through to prices at the used car lot.

Prices for compact cars fell most in March, down 9.1% from a year ago. The shift in interest from cars to small crossover SUVs could lead to attractive prices on some popular models.

“Bargain shoppers can find some of the best deals in the small car category that includes models like Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. Midsize cars, which also saw some drop, are a good deal as well,” Krebs said.

The shift toward SUVs has also affected prices for luxury cars, down 3.4%. “Prices have been way down as luxury buyers choose utilities over traditional luxury cars,” Krebs said.

Mannheim auto auctions

Contact Mark Phelan: mmphelan@freepress.com or 313-222-6731. Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan.