Average used car values improved by £250 (4%) in December, with the bulk of the increase felt in the fleet/lease sector where values increased by £270 (3.6%) to £7,658 - the highest monthly average figure since January 2011.
The figures from British Car Auction’s (BCA) latest Pulse report say the increase was due to the combination of increased demand, fewer trading days and a lower volume of stock reaching the wholesale market.
Average values rose to £6,451, the highest figure on record since Pulse began reporting in 2005. Some of this was down to model mix, but the increase also reflects a very competitive trading environment seen in December.
Average values rose by over 8% in the last two months of 2011.
In the part-exchange sector, values fell slightly in December but remained at near record levels as demand for budget vehicles continued to be exceptionally strong.
Values rose for nearly-new models by just over £1,000 to reach £19,963, a result of model mix in a very low volume sector and a number of special sales events staged during the month.
Year-on-year, December 2011 was a substantial £546 (9.2%) ahead of the same month in 2010, when heavy snowfall was a critical factor and conditions proved logistically challenging for buyers and sellers alike.
BCA’s communications director Tony Gannon said: “December provided another relatively strong performance in the used car market, as professional buyers competed strongly for stock in the run-up to Christmas – a trend we have seen over a number of years now.
“However, it is worth factoring in the much reduced trading period and reduced volume – down by some 37% - which meant model mix had a bigger role to play in average values during December than at any other time of the year.
“Otherwise, the overall picture remains very similar to recent months, with a good balance between supply and demand.”