Used car market continues unprecedented growth

Results from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index suggest the recent record growth in average used car prices shows no sign of significant easing.

In fact, with an average price of £17,366, November marked the 20th consecutive month of growth, with prices increasing a record 28.6% on a year-on-year and like-for-like basis.

So huge is the recent acceleration in used car prices, the market has recorded nearly five years’ worth of growth in just six months, with the average sticker price increasing circa £3,400 since May 2021 (£13,973). Based on the used car price trajectory between 2017 – May 2021, the market would not expect to see the current average price of a used car (£17,366) until April 2026.

Further highlighting just how strong today’s used car market is, 25.8% of the ‘nearly new’ cars available are currently more expensive than their brand-new equivalents. This is up from the previous all-time high of 22.8% recorded in October, and, remarkably, over six times as many than in January 2021.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s director of data and insights, said: There’s been some suggestion that the period of huge price growth is coming to an end, or we’re finally about to see the ‘bubble burst’. Beyond what we’d expect for this time of year however, we’re seeing absolutely no evidence of that being the case.

“Although week-on-week price movements may continue to soften over the coming weeks, average prices remain nearly 30% above what they were last year. Looking further ahead, the new and used car supply constraints will last for much of next year, and with the economy set to grow, we can expect to see the very robust levels of consumer demand continue. Simple economics therefore point to a continuation of very strong price growth well into 2022.”