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December used car market 'strongest since 2012', says Cap HPI

Derren Martin, head of UK valuations at Cap HPI

The used car market defied any market uncertainty created by the General Election to deliver its strongest December performance since 2012, according to data published by Cap HPI.

Average values at three-years and 60,000 miles fell just 0.2% during the traditionally quiet month for car retail as city cars and superminis increased in average value by around £50.

Derren Martin, head of valuations UK at Cap HPI, said: “This is the strongest December since Live was introduced back in 2012, mainly due to the realignment in the summer, an inconsistent new car market and steady consumer demand.

“As we move into 2020, initially at least, we are likely to see a stable or even strong used car market. Volumes are unlikely to increase to any great degree, and there is even the potential for the delay of company cars being returned into the used market, as drivers wait for new tax rules in April, where there is zero benefit-in-kind (BIK) for zero-emissions cars.

“Battery supply issues could exacerbate and extend this.”

Cap HPI reported that more affordable petrol-powered vehicles remained popular, with value drops over the last 12 months having made them “more sellable than ever”.

Among the cars that delivered a rise in values last month were the Citroen C1, Fiat 500 and Skoda Citigo.

C-sector cars performed well in December, with average values increasing at the three-year point, but there was slightly less demand for newer vehicles, according to Cap HPI, with values dropping slightly.

Small SUV models saw values at that one-year point remain level on average, meanwhile, as values for three-year-old models increased to reflect strong retail demand in an unusually active market for the time of year.

According to Cap HPI, January has averaged a small drop, of 0.5%, over the last five years, with the market then strengthening further during February, except for in 2019.

Martin said: “As has occurred in December, and throughout an interesting and difficult 2019, many cars value movements varied from the overall market.

“A focus on the detail within Cap HPI trade and retail valuations is more important than ever, as due to the amount of data we receive and analyse from a variety of sources, our accuracy in our Live products is second to none.

“Whatever 2020 may bring, we will be purely reflecting what the market shows us.”

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