SURVEYS SHOW USED CAR MARKET THRIVING
TWO new studies in used car sales and values have shed light on the market.
Following the bumper sales for new cars in 2012, the latest Pulse report shows that average used values rose sharply in December.
Across the board, used cars averaged £7,361, a significant month-on-month rise of £940 (14.6 per cent) compared to November and the highest monthly figure on record. Year-on-year, December 2012 was ahead by £910 or 14.1 per cent.
Meanwhile another study, by UsedCarExpert, suggests the average price for a used car is now £8,540 – the lowest figure since September 2011.
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Pulse said model mix was largely responsible for the December increase, as a greater proportion of high value fleet/lease and nearly new cars were sold during December, while dealer part-exchange volumes fell in the immediate pre-Christmas period.
Alongside the change in mix, professional buyers were relatively active in December, competing to secure stock for retail forecourts over the usually busy new year period.
Values improved in all three sectors, with year-on-year values remaining well ahead for fleet/lease, dealer part-exchange and nearly new cars.
Tony Gannon, communications director at British Car Auctions, said: "December typically records an uplift in month-on-month values and this year was no exception.
"In fact, records were established in 2010 and 2011, so it should come as no surprise that December 2012 would set a new benchmark value, particularly when factoring in the general lack of stock in the marketplace.
"Overall, prices remain strong despite demand being relatively flat and the lack of stock has generally meant good returns for business sellers. This stock shortage is a long-term issue and is unlikely to change until new car volumes pick up significantly and the economy improves enough to generate a bigger churn of vehicles in the marketplace."
The UsedCarExpert study claimed some regions are missing out on the good deals. It said that while buyers in the South West are now paying an average of only £6,951 for a second-hand car, those in north east England are having to fork out as much as £10,805 on average.
The South West prices last month reflected a fall of 6.31 per cent since November. Prices also fell sharply in Scotland (down 6.2 per cent) and in East Anglia (down 5.31 per cent).
UsedCarExpert editor Matthew Tumbridge said: "Prices have not been this low for over 12 months and in many regions, used car prices have fallen as the economy remains weak and unstable and motorists hold on to their vehicles.
"As motorists face rising prices in insurance and fuel in 2013, it certainly pays motorists to shop around to get the best used-car deal, as they can save over £3,500 if they are prepared to travel.
"These regional price fluctuations are due to local economic conditions impacting on pricing.
"The relative prosperity and wealth in the North East is keeping prices inflated while in the South West, the struggling economy has the lowest used car prices that we have ever seen."