BCA’s latest Pulse report shows that average values rose sharply in December in a short month for trading that was also relatively short of stock.
Across the board, used cars averaged £7,361, a significant month-on-month rise of £940 (14.6%) compared to November and the highest monthly figure on record.
Year-on-year, December 2012 was ahead by £910 or 14.1%.
However, model mix was largely responsible for the increase. BCA sold a greater proportion of high value fleet/lease and nearly-new cars, while dealer part-exchange volumes fell in the immediate pre-Christmas period.
BCA also sold an increased number of high value vehicles via the online Buy Now channel over the Christmas break.
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.
BCA communications director Tony Gannon 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 establish a new benchmark value, particularly when factoring in the general lack of stock in the marketplace.”
He added: “Overall, prices remain strong despite demand being relatively flat and the lack of stock has generally meant good returns for business sellers.
"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.”
“There appears to be little on the horizon that is going to change those wider market conditions, but with the continuing economic pressures and reduced consumer confidence we should not expect to see the same robust value growth in 2013 that was experienced in 2012.”
Fleet and lease cars averaged £8,509 in December, rising by £386 (4.75%) compared to November and establishing a new record monthly value.
CAP performance improved by a point to 95.4% compared to November, while value against original MRP (manufacturer’s retail price) improved by half a point to 40.94% across the sector.
Year-on-year, the fleet & lease sector recorded a significant £851 (11.1%) uplift. Average age and mileage continued to fall, having peaked early in 2012.
In December, average part-exchange values improved sharply by £423 to establish a new monthly highpoint of £3,564, and the CAP performance rose by more than three-and-a-half points to 95.4%.
The wider lack of supply has largely been responsible for the sharply rising prices in this sector and record values have been achieved in three of the past four months.
Year-on-year, values were ahead by £740 – a massive 26.2% uplift compared to December 2011.
Average values climbed in the nearly-new sector by £1,808 to £22,337, while performance against CAP Clean improved by half a point 99.3%.
Nearly-new values will always be affected by changing model mix in this low volume sector.