Traders were faster than ever to lay their hands on used car stock than ever before during a busy March, according to AUTOi.
The online sales platform, which launched its Wizzle stock trading channel last year, reported that the time between a car being listed and sold fell by a record 41% in March.
Prices paid for cars, compared with Cap, also confirmed a strong dealer appetite for fresh stock, it said.
March saw transaction prices creep closer to Cap average – the purchase price benchmark typically used by its dealer subscribers – than at any time since AUTOi launched the Wizzle platform in August 2016.
AUTOi founder, Sébastien Duval, said: “Our sales are consistently rising but much of this is due to greater dealer awareness of the platform and our own process improvements, so the number of transactions alone is not the most reliable indicator of real underlying market strength.
“We have also seen a large increase in dealers logging in to look for cars, since we connected the AUTOi portal to independent auctions, so we are most interested in measures which are not skewed by our own growth.
“That’s why we are emphasising the dramatic reduction in transaction times as an independent measure of stronger dealer intent to buy stock than we were even seeing at the start of the year.
“The willingness of dealers to pay closer to CAP Average is also a strong indicator of their confidence in the retail used car market.”
AUTOi also measures the consumer’s price expectation when listing their car.
Data for 2017 suggests that while the gap between a hoped-for price and the actual sale price is growing, sellers are increasingly happy to transact near to Cap average.
In February consumers hoped, on average, for 6% more than they eventually received while March saw that figure reduce to 4%, AUTOi reported.
AUTOi believes that their model has established that consumers are happy to sacrifice some value in their vehicle in return for a convenient and frictionless transaction.
But the strongest sign of current market strength is the dramatic reduction in the average time between car listing and sale, which has fallen from 6.8 days in January to 3.5 days in March.