1 in 4 ‘nearly new’ cars now worth more than brand new versions as used prices rocket
Average used car prices soared by almost a third in December 2021 compared with the previous year as consumer demand continued to drive up values.
The end of 2021 saw the 21st month of consecutive price growth in the second-hand market, with average costs 30% higher than at the end of 2020.
The latest figures from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index showed the continued strength of the used car market and revealed that a quarter of “nearly new” cars - those less than 12 months old - were selling for more than more than the list price of an equivalent brand new model.
This is in part down to semiconductor supply issues which have affected production around the world and had a significant impact on the new car market. A lack of the key electronic parts has led to waiting times of up to a year on some new cars, pushing buyers to seek out nearly new alternatives.
Tracking prices across more than 900,000 adverts, the index revealed that the average price of a used car in December was £17,816 - up from £17,366 in November and more than £3,750 higher than the £14,085 average in December 2020.
The data also showed that price increases continued to accelerate, with the price change of some models up to 50% greater between 2020 and 2021 than from 2019-20.
The Seat Alhambra MPV’s average asking price reached £19,038 in December 2021, representing a year-on-year change of 50%. Other high performing models included family-friendly vehicles such as the Renault Grand Scenic, Skoda Octavia, Ford S-Max and Skoda Yeti, all of which saw price changes of more than 46%.
Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s director of data and insights, commented: “2021 was a remarkable year for the automotive industry. Used vehicle pricing saw double-digit growth and used cars flew off the forecourts in record time.
“Despite ongoing restrictions, our sector has remained resilient in the face of significant challenges and is on track for strong continued price growth well into the second half of the new year. The two main factors fuelling this growth, supply constraints and strong consumer demand, both show no signs of easing anytime soon. Claims of an imminent ‘bubble burst’ are failing to take these key dynamics into account.”