Used car values fell by 1.7% in December as demand weakened and dealers targeted stronger returns at the start of 2019, according to Cap HPI.
The last month of 2018 proved to be the weakest of the year, setting a pace last seen in November 2017, Cap HPI said.
“The December used car market saw the usual drop off in retail and trade demand, with some vendors deciding to hang on to stock, with the aim of selling for higher prices in January,” the car valuations specialist said in a statement, but added: “Any fall in values, however, has to be seen in the context of an exceptionally strong year overall in 2018.”
Electric vehicles (EVs) showed the strongest average performance with values rising by 0.3% at three years and 60,000 miles, with compact and affordable models proving popular among buyers.
Cap HPI said that the Renault Zoe, Nissan e-NV200 and Nissan Leaf all continued to be in demand, with prices increasing, while Tesla and BMW models struggled to achieve cap clean prices.
Derren Martin, head of UK valuations at Cap HPI, said: “The pattern continues for the more affordable electric cars to be sought after, whereas at the higher end finding buyers is more difficult.
“As a new year gets underway, there is often a feeling amongst vendors and buyers that prices go up as we enter January.
“Over the last five years the average value movement in our Live product during January has actually been a drop of 0.4%.”
Cap HPI has predicted a stable first month of the year for used values with prices unlikely to increase in the early days and weeks.
As in 2018 different sectors, manufacturers and models are likely to be under different pressures, however.
Martin said: “2018 proved to be the year of the used car. Demand and prices held firm through the year, and many franchised dealers joined independents and car supermarkets in increasing their activity in the used arena. The trend looks set to continue into 2019.”