Used car prices rise for 66th straight week

Consumer demand is continuing to drive record price growth, with the average price of a used car surging another 15% year-on-year in the week starting 9 August.

This is according to Auto Trader, which has now recorded 66 consecutive weeks of growth.

Another testament to the underlying levels of demand in the market is the faster speed at which retailers are selling cars. In the week starting 9 August it took an average of 26 days for stock to leave forecourts, which is a 10% drop on the April average.

The exceptional level of used car demand has been given a further boost by the growing supply constraints seen in the new car market, with Auto Trader research finding that nearly half (46%) of new car buyers would not be prepared to wait for more than a month for their preferred vehicle, while 74% would be open to purchasing a used car alternative if their brand-new choice wasn’t available within their desired time-frame.

Auto Trader’s data and insights director, Richard Walker, said: Used car demand is being fuelled by many factors, not least consumer confidence, low unemployment levels, concerns about safety on public transport, but now also the supply constraints we’re seeing in the new car market. We estimate there are up to 600,000 new car transactions that won’t happen this year because of these constraints, with many consumers looking to used car alternatives. This suggests we can expect a sustained period of positive used car demand.

“Based on the incredibly strong metrics we’re observing across the market we anticipate at least eight million used car transactions this year. However, this doesn’t even begin to reclaim the sales we saw lost in 2020 due to the lockdowns; if used car supply remains robust, we’re confident there’s enough used car demand in the market to outperform our predictions.”