Used car prices ‘level out’

Time 6:35 am, January 7, 2009

Used car prices level outUSED car values have stabilised, says BCA – with December auction values up for the 2nd month running.

This comes after large falls earlier in 2008, which means that ‘used cars currently remain exceptional value for money.’

It also runs counter to big rivals Manheim, which reported a fall in December values.

However, says BCA communications director Tony Gannon, a return to the peaks of 2008 are unlikely. ‘There is little to suggest such a scenario occurring in the short term.’

The rollercoaster of falls began in November 2007, he says. From then, values rose to record levels in January 2008, before plummeting almost without respite until October.

The only brief solace came during May 2008.

High to low average values varied by a massive 13 per cent during the first half of 2008. This illustrates the wild swing experienced by the market. In contrast, the second half variance was 4 per cent.

Sectors still thriving include the budget end of the market. Gannon reports a watershed in demand at around £5000 – ‘the upper limit of affordability, with finance being hard to come by.’

‘Until motorists find it easier to raise finance, and some confidence returns to the marketplace, there is nothing to suggest that used car volumes are going to climb in the short term.

‘Even so, 2009 should not see a repeat of the price patterns experienced in 2008.’

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