Average used car values at BCA rose sharply last year as the combination of buyer demand and an ongoing shortage of retail quality stock increased competition for the vehicles on offer.
Across the board, the average value of a used car sold at BCA in 2013 was £7,056, a rise of £857 compared to 2012 (up 13.8%). It is the highest annual figure on record.
Average age and mileage declined to 61 months and 56,400 miles respectively, reversing the trend of the previous three years which had seen both age and mileage creep up. Average performance against CAP Clean climbed by nearly half a point to 96.87%.
Looking at monthly values during 2013, the peak month for value was December, where the combination of a short trading month and reduced supply resulted in record values. According to BCA, April posted the lowest monthly value in the annual cycle for the second year running, the effect of the post-Easter decline depressing prices.
Year on year, the three main sectors of fleet and lease, dealer part-exchange and nearly-new all posted value increases over 2012, with part-exchange values rising by a substantial 23.9% and fleet and lease cars rising by an average of 11.3%.
Simon Henstock, BCA UK Operations Director said: "Average values continued to surge to record levels in the used car market in 2013 according to BCA’s Pulse reports. The year-on-year figures showed a substantial increase of nearly 14% over 2012, underlining the on-going value evolution in the used car market.
"Demand rarely faltered throughout the year, even into the traditionally quieter summer months and the second half of 2013 was particularly strong. There can be little doubt that news of the improving economic conditions in the UK has put some confidence into the marketplace."
He added that following the September plate change, there was a noticeable step-up in buyer activity which carried on through the autumn and early winter. Henstock said Live Online buyers were ctive during the final months of the year and BCA's Bid Now/Buy Now channels saw sales volumes climb.
Henstock said: "With the ongoing dearth of retail-quality stock, professional buyers were bidding very competitively on the best vehicles and prices climbed as a result.”
For 2014, Henstock believes an overall shortage of used cars and the issues of supply versus demand will see a continuation of high conversions and higher selling prices describing it as a "sellers’ market".
“However, this does not mean sellers have carte blanche to ignore remarketing best practice," he added.
"Even when demand is high, it is important to evaluate and appraise stock sensibly. The most successful vendors recognise that condition and grade have a critical role to play in valuing vehicles, rather than just using the price guides in isolation."
Average fleet and lease values improved by £909 to £8,889 in 2013, a rise of 11.3% compared to 2012. Both average age and mileage fell last year. Average performance against CAP Clean fell slightly to 96.64%.
Dealer Part-Exchange values rose by £712 to £3,691, a substantial 23.9% improvement over the average values recorded in 2012.
Both average age and mileage rose slightly over the year, while performance against CAP Clean improved by nearly three points to 95.35%.Values in the low volume nearly-new sector rose by £390 to £20,137, a 1.9% increase , year-on-year.
Performance against CAP Clean was equivalent to 99.94% over the year. BCA says the shortage of retail quality vehicles focused attention on the limited volume of young stock reaching the wholesale sector and contributed to the stronger price performance in 2013.