Used car prices continue to increase as phenomenal demand leads to 8.5 per cent rise

Time 3:22 pm, October 16, 2020

Used car prices went up by 8.5 per cent last week against the same time last year thanks to exceptional demand, says Auto Trader.

And the online marketplace says the figures for October 5-11 – based on the 451,000 vehicles currently being advertised – mark 23 weeks of consecutive price growth.

It said the steep trajectory was mainly down to the imbalance of supply and demand, reporting an 8.8 per cent year-on-year rise in demand but a 5.7 per cent drop in supply.

Auto Trader also had 14.3 million visits to its marketplace last week – more than a fifth (21.9 per cent) up on last year.

Demand for petrol vehicles shot up by 12 per cent last week year on year as supply dipped by 1.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, diesel demand rose by 2.2 per cent against a ‘significant’ drop in supply of 14.7 per cent.

That led to petrol and diesel vehicles enjoying a like-for-like price increase of 8.9 per cent and 9.4 per cent respectively versus 2019.

Used cars aged 10-15 years are still being affected by a sharp drop in levels of supply – last week, they were down by 13.5 per cent year on year, pushing prices up by 13.0 per cent – the highest rate of growth so far this month.

Cars aged up to 12 months suffered a huge fall in supply – down a whopping 48.3 per cent, while  demand fell away by 20.5 per cent.

Their prices still went up by six per cent, though, which Auto Trader said was the lowest of any age group.

As far as body types were concerned, hatchbacks and MPVs saw the highest rate of growth last week – up 12.0 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively year on year.

SUVs continued to be the most in demand – up by 16.3 per cent, which helped their prices to increase by 6.6 per cent.

Premium and volume brands showed strong price growth In September thanks to demand outstripping supply, said Auto Trader.

That has continued into October, with the average price of used premium and volume cars going up by 7.7 per cent and 11.4 per cent respectively year on year.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s director of data and insight, said: ‘Halfway into October and it’s already clear that the market is continuing to defy the naysayers that predicted a price crash in September.

‘Despite the introduction of new tiered restrictions across the country, based on previous analysis done on areas where restrictions have already been tightened, such as Leicester, we’re confident it will have marginal impact on demand at this stage.

‘In fact, our research points to new opportunities.

‘Last week, we saw an increase in people considering owning a car to be more important than it was before Covid-19, and the aversion to public transport is now at its highest rate since we began tracking it in the summer.’

He added: ‘With supply constraints an ongoing issue for many retailers, we don’t foresee any imminent factors that will affect price growth beyond the typical seasonal trends.’

Last week, the average number of retailers making daily price adjustments was 2,351, said Auto Trader, which is getting closer to the lower end of typical pre-lockdown behaviour of 2,500 to 3,000.

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In all, 14,057 vehicles were repriced during the week – the highest number since coming out of lockdown but still lower than the usual 17,500 to 24,000.

The average price reduction last week was £279, which was still at the lower end, said Auto Trader, and just £6 less than the end of September.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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