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Used car price rise continues despite economic turmoil, reports Auto Trader

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

Used car prices rose by 2.17% on Auto Trader as new car supply constraints continued to drive a buoyant market in September.

Values rose an average of £370, to £17,409, between August and September to leave the sector’s growth at 35% over two years and 42% in three.

Stock turn also continued its recent acceleration, with the average used car taking an average of 26 days to sell in September.

That is two days faster than August and the sector’s fastest since October 2021 (24 days), according to Auto Trader.

Auto Trader's Retail Price Index chart, September 2022Auto Trader’s director of data and insights, Richard Walker, said: “It seems almost every week the market is having to contend with another potential headwind, most recently the Chancellor’s not so mini budget.

“And as we’ve seen following other recent economic disruptors, some have been quick to suggest it’ll be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. However, we’re simply not seeing any sign of it, with levels of consumer demand, intent, and budgets all remaining stable.

“Whilst the used car market won’t be immune to these macro changes, including the potential impact of rising interest rates on finance deals, there are a range of factors unique to the automotive market, which we believe will continue to insulate it from broader economic disruption and continue to fuel sustained levels of demand, and with its strong used car prices.”

Stock shortages look set to continue to drive high used car values and car retailers’ margins in the months ahead.

Even ahead of last month’s 4.6% new car registrations uplift on a constrained 2021 number plate change month, The National Association of Motor Auctions’ (NAMA) warned that forecourts are unlikely to benefit from “significant volumes” of additional stock.

Auto Trader claimed that advert views on its automotive marketing platform had remained buoyant during September, however.

While last month’s views were down 5% on 2021’s massive post-lockdown surge, they remained 17% up on pre-pandemic levels, it said, while average daily users increased to 1.34 million. 

Furthermore, in a September survey conducted by Auto Trader, more than 80% of consumers stated they were at least as confident as they were last year in their ability to afford their next car.

In a separate survey, three quarters stated they were intending to buy a car within the next six months.

National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) chief executive Sue Robinson said September had delivered “another positive month in the used car market”, with high prices and strong consumer demand making for a healthy market.

She added: “The continued consumer demand and increasing values highlights a stable market, which is positive going into the closing months of the year.

“There are cautious headwinds to look out for with the broader economic climate, but NFDA is confident this will not have an immediate impact on the used car market.”

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