May was a dark month for UK used van values, which fell to their lowest point in 2008 so far.
The average value for fleet and lease vans was £3,979 according to auction giant BCA – the first time this year values have dipped below £4,000.
The price fell from £4,126 in April, a drop of £147 or 3.5%.
Part-exchange stock fell even further during May.
The average value for part-exchanged vans was £2,064 – a fall of 8.3% on April, or nearly £200.
In the nearly-new sector, average values dropped to £10,108, £87 down on April’s figures and almost £1,000 below the values recorded in January this year.
Duncan Ward, BCA’s UK business development manager, said: “We reported the market slowing in April and this has continued in May. While demand has softened, there continues to be healthy supply of stock in the market.
“Unfortunately many of these vans are in poor condition, low specification and unpopular colours and in the current market they are very price sensitive.
The end result is that we are seeing more unsold stock than earlier in the year and conversion rates have fallen.”
Mr Ward said a two-tier market was developing, in demand as well as price.
“Buyers want fresh stock and first-time entered vehicles and realistically valued vans are selling well with sales converting in excess of 70%,” he said.
“Re-entered vehicles, however, are struggling to get the buyer’s attention unless there has been a sensible price adjustment.”
Those selling vans need to be realistic about the current broad economic conditions in the UK, Mr Ward warned.
“This is not just seasonality affecting the market, but is a more fundamental re-aligning of prices in the retail and wholesale market,” he said.
“We have enjoyed a buoyant marketplace for many months, but conditions have just got that bit tougher in recent weeks.
“At the other end of the scale, well-presented ready-to-retail vans continue to make exceptional values, often soaring past guide prices.
This is typical of a cautious marketplace where professional buyers are cherry-picking the best vans – everybody wants the same vehicles and buyers will often have to pay over the odds to secure them.”