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Used cars selling at record speed despite blows to consumer confidence

Auto Trader’s director of data and insight, Richard Walker

Auto Trader has reported that used cars are selling at record speeds, despite a continuation of year-on-year value increases.

The online used car marketplace said that the average car was sold in just 25 days last week as the average value of a vehicle advertised on the portal rose 28.5% on the same period in 2021 – a 98th consecutive week of rising values.

However, its monthly retail price index report conceded that the used car market was “showing signs of easing slightly” as the cost of living crisis hits household finances.

Three consecutive storms, resulting flooding in parts of the UK, and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine had understandably diverted the public’s attention from car buying, it said.

Auto Trader’s data and insights director, Richard Walker, said: “Given the headlines over recent weeks, a slight softening in what has been a long period of exceptionally strong consumer demand is to be expected.

“However, it is not an indication of a market in reverse and anyone anticipating a sudden drop in prices will be disappointed.

“Despite the potential headwinds, demand remains buoyant, which combined with the ongoing pressures on new and used car supply, which the current conflict in Ukraine may constrain even further, will ensure used car prices remain high for some time to come.”

Auto Trader said that traffic to Auto Trader’s marketplace remained strong with a consistent 1.4 million daily users.

And, despite soaring fuel, energy and food costs, Auto Trader said that a consumer survey conducted in February found that nearly half of those surveyed were more confident in being able to afford their next car than they were last year.

A separate study found that 42% of over 4,000 car buyers intend to purchase within the next two weeks, which is up from 37% In January, and 35% in December.

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