Used car dealer photo via PA/Blackball MediaUsed car dealer photo via PA/Blackball Media


Strong consumer demand sees used car retail prices rise in April – Auto Trader

  • Robust consumer demand fuelling uptick in used car sales, says Auto Trader
  • Average price of a used car in April was £16,703
  • That was 9.3% down year on year but up 1.1% month on month

Time 11:40 am, May 1, 2024

The used car market has had a strong start in 2024’s second quarter with consumer demand, transactions and retail prices all growing in April.

That’s according to Auto Trader, which said last month marked the first month-on-month (MoM) increase in a year, with the market recording a 1.1% increase on a like-for-like basis.

The online marketplace’s Retail Price Index, which takes into account 800,000 daily pricing observations, shows that the monthly growth is in line with traditional seasonal patterns and offered a positive sign of the market returning to historic norms, it said.

Retail prices were still down by 9.3% on 2023, but the month-on-month uptick is being fuelled by favourable market dynamics, said Auto Trader.

And although the number of used cars entering the market fell by 1.1% year on year last month – the first contraction in supply levels since July 2023 –  consumer demand on Auto Trader was up around 9%, which it said was the highest rate of growth since December.

As a result, its Market Health metric, which assesses potential market profitability, rose by more than 10% over the same period, which also marked the largest increase this year.

Auto Trader enjoyed some 83.7m cross-platform visits last month, which was 8% up on 2023), and it took an average of 27 days for a used car to leave retailers’ forecourts in April – one day slower than in March, which was the fastest pace on record, but two days quicker than the same period last year.

As well as helping to stabilise retail prices, the ‘very robust consumer demand’ for used cars is also driving sales, said Auto Trader. According to its data, used car transactions increased around 6.3% year-on-year in April.

Auto Trader’s consumer research indicated sustained demand, with some 80% of 300 in-market car buyers who were polled last month claiming to be as confident in their ability to afford their next car as they were last year.

Meanwhile, 81% of some 500 car buyers surveyed said they intended to buy their next car within the next six months – up from 77% in March.

The positive month-on-month performance flowed through the different segments of the market in April.

However, used electric vehicles were the only fuel type not to record price growth, with average prices dipping by 0.4% MoM to £27,884. In contrast, both petrol (£14,955) and diesel (£14,659) cars saw average prices rise by 1.3%.

The average price of used 1-3-year-old EVs rose by 2.5% on March, while petrol cars of the same age increased by 2.3% and 1-3-year-old diesel cars shot up by 4.3%.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s data & insights director, said: ‘2024 got off to a strong start, and it’s very reassuring to see it continue so confidently into Q2, with very robust demand helping retailers to sell more stock, more quickly.

‘Disappointingly, prices do remain down year on year, but the month-on-month growth and return to seasonal norms is another positive sign of the retail market stabilising.’

Top 10 used car price growth (all fuel types)

1) Audi R8

April 2024 average asking price: £75,527

Price change (YoY): 4.2%

Price change (MoM): 1.6%

2) Mercedes-Benz SL Class

April 2024 average asking price: £28,890

Price change (YoY): 3.4%

Price change (MoM): 2.4%

3) Volkswagen Beetle

April 2024 average asking price: £7,770

Price change (YoY): 2.5%

Price change (MoM): 2.8%

4) Porsche Boxster

April 2024 average asking price: £20,404

Price change (YoY): 1.4%

Price change (MoM): 1.8%

5) Land Rover Freelander 2

April 2024 average asking price: £7,833

Price change (YoY): 0.7%

Price change (MoM): 2.7%

6) Bentley Continental

April 2024 average asking price: £55,736

Price change (YoY): 0.4%

Price change (MoM): 1.7%

7) BMW M5

April 2024 average asking price: £43,976

Price change (YoY): -0.1%

Price change (MoM): 3.9%

8) Peugeot Partner Tepee

April 2024 average asking price: £8,996

Price change (YoY): -0.6%

Price change (MoM): 1.8%

9) Mercedes-Benz CLS

April 2024 average asking price: £17,158

Price change (YoY): -0.6%

Price change (MoM): 1.8%

10) Toyota Yaris

April 2024 average asking price: £13,010

Price change (YoY): -0.9%

Price change (MoM): 2.0%

Source: Auto Trader

Auto Trader will be announcing its results for the year ending March 31 on May 30.

Main image copyright Blackball Media/PA

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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