Data released in BCA’s Quarterly Pulse Report shows the average value of a used car in the first quarter of 2012 was £6,114 – the highest ever recorded in the first quarter since Pulse began reporting in 2005.
Year on year, quarter one 12 was ahead by £215 (3.6 per cent) and significantly ahead of the average values being recorded in the pre-recessionary period.
Values increased in all three sectors. Fleet and lease values increased steadily during the first quarter of 2012, reflecting the structural shortage of supply affecting the market.
The part-exchange sector established record monthly and quarterly average values in Q1 12, and nearly-new values improved year-on-year.
BCA’s Tony Gannon said: ‘There is little doubt the ‘value’ element of the market has recovered despite the on-going economic issues.
‘However, the supply side of the market equation should not be ignored. There have been well reported constraints on supply of the best, retail quality cars and – in a competitive remarketing environment – this is undoubtedly contributing to the general rise in values.’
While values are generally increasing in the used market, the average age and mileage of used cars is also increasing. This is particularly noticeable in the fleet and lease market, where mileage has been rising since quarter three 2010 (with the exception of Q4 11, where model mix may have had a role to play) and reached an all-time high in the most recent quarter.
The average age of used vehicles is also rising and passed 61 months in quarter one 2012 – the second highest figure on record.
However, BCA warns these rises mask a certain fragility to market conditions and have been achieved against a backdrop of continuing economic pressures and reduced sold volumes. It may be some time before the market repeats the steady value evolution seen between 2005 and 2007.