Greg, when I sold my Archer in 2000 my partners and I bought a C 182. Picked up 15 knots plus useful load. It was prefect for the flying I was doing then. We sold it during the recession in 2008 and I bought (without partners) the Meyers 10 years ago and now have 500 hours in her. I have also not looked back, although I have spent a ton of money getting her right for my flying today. Dean is the ‘go-to’ and with some patience you will find a bird that will allow you to upgrade. But as you have learned, the fleet is small and not a lot hit the market at any one point in time. Personally, if I had to redo it I would buy one that had the bulk of upgrades already completed. You will find that the prices today are nowhere as expensive as it will be to buy a bird with old avionics or with a run out 520 and then doing the upgrades, which is what I did. This is true for any bird though. Looks to me like pricing for all brands have some hat stabilized and are in fact increasing for certain models.
Good luck in your search.