Used prices fall for first time in 41 months

Used car prices fell in September for the first time since March 2020, based on data from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index.

The average price of a used car last month was £17,736, down 0.4% year-on-year and like-for-like, marking the end of a remarkable 41 months of consecutive growth.

Meanwhile, second-hand electric prices also show signs of stabilising. After 13 consecutive months of contraction, prices were flat in September at £32,142. This growing stability is due to rocketing consumer demand, which was up 86.7% last month, marking the first time since July 2022 it has been ahead of supply growth (up 56.8%).

Auto Trader’s director of data and insight, Richard Walker, said: “As prices stabilise and demand continues to accelerate, used electric vehicles are becoming a particular bright spot, and we’d urge retailers not to be distracted by the Prime Minister’s unexpected U-turn. The ongoing de-fleeting of the hundreds of thousands of EVs sold over the last few years, as well as confirmation of the ZEV mandate means the volume of used electric cars entering the used market is only set to increase. Ignore Westminster’s smoke-and-mirrors; EVs are here to stay and by following the data provide good profit potential.”

Walker added: “The recovery in new car sales has brought a steady increase in supply to the used car market, and with it triggered the first overall price contraction in second-hand prices in over three years. As is always the case with such a volatile used car market, context is key, and it’s critical not to be misled by the headlines. For the vast majority of the market, we’re still seeing robust levels of price growth being stimulated by a combination of strong demand and constrained supply and so whilst the overall figures may continue to soften over the coming months, the market remains profitable.”