December 3, 2022


Born to perform

Average used car price up 32% YoY in March says Auto Trader

3 min read


The average price of a used car increased 32% on a year-on-year (YoY) and like-for-like basis in March.

According to the Auto Trader Retail Price Index this marks the 24th month of consecutive YoY price growth; over this period motorists will have seen the average value of their used car increase nearly £4,400.

While YoY prices are continuing to increase, Auto Tradersaid that it’s clear that the rate of growth is beginning to ease, with March’s 0.1% rise on the 31.9% recorded in February representing the lowest monthly movement since November 2020.

Highlighting the current resilience of the used car market, the latest on-site research conducted by Auto Trader suggests consumer confidence remains robust. Around 40% of the circa 1,600 people surveyed in March intend to buy in the next two weeks, and 67% want to buy in the next three months.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s Director of Data and Insights, said: “Although used car price growth and consumer demand is softening, it’s important to put it into context. Against a backdrop of ‘once in a lifetime’ levels of demand in 2021, it’s easy to misinterpret the data as a market in decline, but a quick look under the bonnet reveals that any suggestion prices are about to tumble is unfounded. Despite growing economic pressures, the appetite for new and used cars remains above pre-pandemic levels, which combined with the ongoing squeeze in supply, will keep used car prices strong for the foreseeable future.”

One in five (20%) of the nearly new cars currently available (those aged up to 12 months) are more expensive than their brand-new equivalents. Over the last 12 months, the average price of these nearly new cars has increased circa £8,700, and over £11,700 in the last two years. Remarkably, despite these unprecedented pricing dynamics nearly new cars were selling on average 22 days faster last month than in March 2021 (30 days vs 52).

The current record fuel prices are influencing the market dynamics of electric vehicle (EV) and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. On Auto Trader, demand (based on searches and advert views) for EVs has gradually been easing since the original fuel crisis in autumn of 2021. However, as prices at the pumps have accelerated over recent weeks, there’s been a notable reversal of this trend, with levels of demand for premium and volume brand EVs increasing 79.1% YoY (up significantly on the 28.8% YoY growth recorded in February) and 120.2% YoY (up from 53% YoY) respectively.

Although EV supply is growing, these external factors are stimulating demand at a much steeper rate, helping to fuel very strong price growth for both premium (20.1% YoY / £50,499) and volume (27.5% / £26,137) brand EVs.

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive, NFDA, added: “Used car prices remain at high levels despite seeing a level of stabilisation. Considering the impact that external factors such as the rising cost of living are having on consumer confidence and taking into account ongoing supply constraints, the latest data shows that underlying demand for second-hand vehicles remains robust. It is encouraging to see that appetite for both new and used electrified vehicles continues to be particularly strong.”


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