Used car prices stabilise with slight rise plus improved days to sell despite economic gloom – Car Dealer Magazine

The used car market showed more signs of stability in September with a small rise in advertised prices and improved days to sell.

That’s according to the latest Market View analysis from eBay Motors Group and despite deepening economic uncertainty and the cost-of-living crisis hitting household spending.

For the second month in a row, average retail prices rose on Motors.co.uk – up 0.6 per cent to £16,753, which was a £98 gain and 4.9 per cent ahead year on year.

The increase was driven by franchised dealers, which were up 1.5 per cent to £21,027, and car supermarkets – up one per cent to £17,904 – while independent dealers remained static at £13,765.

Days to sell across all retailing sectors averaged 36.6 days, which was one day less than August but two days more than September 2021.

Improvements were felt mostly by car supermarkets at 29.2 days, versus 32.5 in August, followed by franchised dealers at 29.7 days, against 32.3 days in August. Independents, meanwhile, saw an increase from 45.7 to 46.9 days.

The group said that despite the economic squeeze facing buyers, the fastest sellers of the month were cars between £20,000 and £40,000, averaging just 30.5 days on forecourts.

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In contrast, cars priced less than £10,000 shifted the slowest, with those listed between £5,000 and £9,999 taking 48.6 days on average to sell.

The industry-wide shortage of used cars continued to bite, though, with stock levels dropping for the fifth month in a row, although the two per cent fall to 47.9 equated to just one unit, with inventories on a par with last September.

Franchised dealers didn’t benefit from the usual September influx of part-exchanges generated by the plate change, seeing their average inventories drop from 71 to 69 units.

Independents were also down from 36 to 35 units, while car supermarkets remained unchanged at 290 units.

Lucy Tugby, marketing director of eBay Motors Group, said: ‘Despite spiralling household costs impacting on spending power, supply and demand proved to be well balanced in September, with marginal improvements in prices and stock turn, while inventories closely tracked August.

‘At a time of increasing economic uncertainty, this data highlights the robustness of the used car market.

‘However, the coming months may see a bit more volatility in demand with rising finance costs.

‘We encourage dealers to remain vigilant and communicate effectively with consumers to provide them with the confidence to transact.’

She added: ‘Franchised dealers will have been disappointed not to reap the benefit of the September influx of part-exchanges but will be hoping that 72-plate deliveries will be filtering through over the coming months.’

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Dealer listings were still dominated by petrol and diesel models, but views of electric vehicles across Motors.co.uk are said to be tracking at a higher rate than in pre-Covid 2019 and have consistently outperformed hybrids since May.

‘Despite the volume of used EVs remaining relatively small compared to ICE vehicles, interest among buyers is growing month on month,’ said Tugby.

‘Dealers able to source EVs and pricing them to market are achieving some fast sales, as illustrated by the Vauxhall Mokka EV, which averaged just 4.9 days in stock in September.’

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