Used car prices go UP in February for first time in nearly a year – but what happens next?

  • Used car prices have risen by 0.7% as dealers head back to market to stock up
  • Price falls in last quarter of 2023 have been long forgotten as market picks up
  • Another rise in March also predicted with a ‘stable’ year ahead for prices

Time 6:50 am, February 27, 2024

Used car prices have RISEN for the first time in nearly a year as the market rebounds after tanking at the end of 2023.

Cap HPI has reported prices of three year old cars went up 0.7% in February as dealers rushed to stock up their forecourts once again.

The price increase is the fourth largest February increase recorded by Cap HPI since it began crunching the figures in 2012.

In an exclusive video interview (above), valuations director Derren Martin said some dealers were even encouraging the firm to push values higher.

The increase follows a static January which saw prices fall just 0.1%, and follows a punishing final quarter of 2023 which saw prices fall 10.5% in just three months.

‘It’s definitely a positive and it feels strong and relatively stable,’ said Martin, reflecting on the month’s performance.

‘The dealers we are speaking to are relatively upbeat and we’ve had some comments that we should be moving values up by more, but when you look at the data it is a little bit mixed. 

‘Not everything is going up, so it’s certainly not another 2021 when values were going up ridiculously, but it’s a nice, steady, strong market.’

February’s biggest used car price falls

Source: Cap HPI, three-year-old cars at 30k miles 

  1. Mercedes-Benz E Class petrol hybrid -10.7%, -£2,870
  2. Vauxhall Vivaro Life electric -9.7%, -£1,853
  3. Hyundai i30 diesel -8.9%, -£1,046
  4. Jeep Compass hybrid -7.7%, -£1,650
  5. Mitsubishi Mirage -6.8%, -£575
  6. Renault Megane hybrid -6.0%, -£887
  7. Fiat 500 electric -5.9%, -£681
  8. Infiniti QX30 diesel -5.8%, -£860
  9. Lexus LC Coupe -5.0%, -£2,890
  10. Mercedes-Benz GLE diesel hybrid -5.0%, -£2,166

Martin said that even with the price falls seen at the end of last year, used car prices were still up around 13% on where they were at the start of 2021.

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‘We’ve set a new level for used car values and we don’t feel that there’s going to be any dramatic increases or decreases – going forward it feels very stable,’ he added.

Electric cars were the worst performers in February dropping 1.7%, but the movements there were mixed with some EVs including the Renault Zoe, Seat Mii electric and Mercedes EQA all rising by more than 1%.

Petrol cars increased by an average of 1.2% in February and diesel cars were up 0.5%. 

Best performing models were superminis (up 2.4%) and city cars (up 1.6%) while large executive cars fell 1.5%. 

Martin explained he now expected the stability to continue as there is still a lack of used cars in the market following the new car sales shortages during the pandemic. 

He added: ‘Those cars are never going to appear so there’s less cars in the market, especially within that sort of what three to four year old area.

‘People still need cars – used cars are a necessity purchase, as well as an aspirational purchase. So there is still a requirement for vehicles – people still need to change.’

February’s biggest used car price rises

Source: Cap HPI, three-year-old cars at 30k miles
Alfa Romeo Giulietta

  1. Alfa Romeo Giulietta diesel 9.1%, £954
  2. Skoda Karoq 8.2%, £1,133
  3. Jaguar F-Type 7.1%, £2,200
  4. BMW 4 Series Convertible 7.1%, £1,290
  5. Alfa Romeo Giulietta 6.6%, £812
  6. Citroen C4 Cactus 6.5%, £608
  7. Mazda MX-5 6.1%, £778
  8. Renault Captur 6.0%, £660
  9. Jaguar F-Type Convertible 5.1%, £1,780
  10. Vauxhall Corsa 5.1%, £501

Looking ahead, Martin said next month could also see an increase in used car values.

He added: ‘Last year, values in March went up by half a percent. It tends to be a month where values can go up, you don’t tend to get those volumes from the part exchanges and fleet returns until towards the end of the month or even into April, so I can’t see any reason why demand is going to drop away in the short term. 

‘But then once you get into the Easter holidays, then maybe there’ll be a little bit more volatility but yeah, we’re certainly predicting that March will be another strong month and I would predict a small movement up again.’

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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