The latest data from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, which is based on daily pricing analysis of circa 900,000 vehicles, revealed that the average price of a used car was £17,173 in July, which on a like-for-like basis, is a 19.5% increase on the same period last year.
Against the all-time high of 32.2%, recorded in April 2022, last month’s rate of growth appears relatively conservative. However, whilst some commentators have been predicting an imminent price crash for several months now, Auto Trader’s data, which is the largest and most accurate view of the market, reveals used car prices remain stable. In fact, on a month-on-month (MoM) basis, average prices have increased (0.2%), which contrasts with typical seasonal trends (July 2019 recorded a -0.4% decline) and undermines any suggestion prices are about to drop.
The current softening in the rate of growth is due, in part, to the fact growth is now overlapping last year’s already very high levels – in July 21, prices were up at a then all-time high of 14.1% year-on-year (YoY). By applying a longer-term view, it’s clearer to see the full extent of the recent growth and just how strong prices remain; last month the average price of a used car was up over £3,300 when compared with July 2020, and a whopping £4,100 when compared with July 2019.
Further contributing factors include a slight YoY softening in consumer demand. However, context is again key and any comparisons made with 2021 will be heavily distorted due to last year’s exceptional ‘once in a life-time’ levels, which was fuelled by massive pent-up demand post lock-down, and the huge surge in competition for used cars due to new car shortages. Therefore, it would be more accurate to compare the current market with pre-pandemic levels. According to the latest onsite data from Auto Trader, the volume of advert views on its marketplace dipped -5.7% YoY, but against the more ‘normal’ trading conditions of 2019, they’re up 12.4%. So, whilst some may point to an apparent but false conclusion of falling prices and faltering demand, Auto Trader’s data suggests a very different story.
Outlook for used car market remains stable
Despite economic uncertainty around the rising cost of living, surging fuel prices, and the Bank of England’s expected hike in interest rates to curb rocketing inflation, Auto Trader research offers a more stable outlook for the used car market. Indeed, circa 80% of consumers visiting the Auto Trader marketplace who were surveyed in July were at least as confident as they were last year in their ability to afford their next car – 43% said they were more confident, which is up on the 41% recorded in June, and the 38% in May. What’s more, in a separate survey of Auto Trader visitors, three quarters stated they were intending to buy a car within the next six months, which is consistent with the levels over the last year, whilst two in five (40%) are planning on making a purchase in the next two weeks.
Commenting on July’s data, Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s Director of Data and Insights, said: “With price growth softening it would be easy to misinterpret the data as a market in reverse or in decline, particularly against the current backdrop of economic uncertainty. But our data, which is based on the largest and most accurate view of the automotive market, shows that is simply not the case. And whilst demand is easing against last year’s once in a lifetime levels, with almost four million new and used car transactions ‘lost’ since 2020, combined with packed new car order books – and very lengthy waiting times – demand for used cars remains. Coupled with ongoing supply challenges, anyone predicting a crash in used car prices any time soon, will be sorely disappointed.”
Sue Robinson Chief Executive of the NFDA, added: “The NFDA expect used car values to remain strong as the supply of good quality retailable used cars are still lower than normal. Current new car volumes are restricting the number of part-exchange vehicles reaching the market that would normal help supply dealer forecourts, and at the same time some consumers needing a car quickly are turning to the used market to source a car.”
Top 10 price growth (all fuel types) | July 2022 vs July 2021 like-for-like
|Ranks||Make||Model||July-22 Average Asking Price||Price Change (YoY)|
Top 10 price contraction (all fuel types) | July 2022 vs July 2021 like-for-like
|Rank||Make||Model||July-22 Average Asking Price||Price Change|
|9||Land Rover||Discovery 4||£20,321||-2.6%|
|7||DS AUTOMOBILES||DS 7 CROSSBACK||£26,983||-3.3%|
|1||Land Rover||Discovery 3||£7,691||-9.1%|
 Up from £13,888 in July 2020
 Up from £13,113
 Auto Trader internal data July 2022; 559 car buyers asked Do you feel more or less confident in being able to afford your next car than you did a year ago?
 Auto Trader internal data; 1,914 car buyers surveyed in July 2022
*Article Source www.newspress.co.uk