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Economic pressures felt in February’s used van market

Used vans continued to achieve near-record prices at BCA auctions last month, but external economic pressures are starting to alter buyer behavior.

Average values remained above £10,000 for the third consecutive month, with values averaging 101.2% of guide prices across the board.

While demand remains robust for vehicles in the best condition, BCA says professional buyers are much less enthusiastic about vehicles with cosmetic or mechanical issues, and these vehicles are becoming very price sensitive. 

Stuart Pearson, BCA COO UK , said: “External economic factors are increasingly having a greater effect on the wider used LCV marketplace, which is largely driven by the needs of the small business and independent trader sectors. 

“These businesses will undoubtedly have been under pressure throughout the pandemic and are now having to deal with rising interest rates, increased energy and fuel costs and the widespread cost-of-living squeeze.

“While an LCV is a necessary tool of the trade for many small businesses, we have seen demand from professional buyers hot-up for vehicles in the best condition which is pushing up values for the best prepared, higher grade vehicles, but creating pressure on lower grade, older, higher mileage vehicles that need cosmetic or mechanical refurbishment before sale.

“This is a good time to remind sellers that the remarketing basics remain as important as they ever were.  Where appropriate, mechanical and cosmetic repairs will add value and improve first time conversion, while the right level of preparation, an accurate appraisal, accurate descriptions and transparency around vehicle provenance will all contribute towards achieving optimum value and speed of sale.”

Following on from the record value of £10,812 seen in January, February maintained the consistent run of strong values seen throughout recent months, averaging £10,441 – the second highest monthly value ever recorded. 

Year-on-year values for February 2022 were ahead by £1,015 (10.8%) compared to February 2021 when the country remained in lockdown. 

In November, the UK's new van market notched up a sales record, finishing the month 11.4% ahead of the pre-pandemic average for the month.

Supply shortages have led to long waiting times for new van orders and consequently high values achieved by vans in the used market.

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