Press release

Auto Trader Retail Price Index | August 2019

Average used car prices contract but EVs record unprecedented growth

  • Price growth for used EVs is 30.4% in August – the highest ever recorded
  • Year-on-year like for like prices have declined by 1.3%
  • Cars aged 10-15 years still at positive price growth of 0.8% but younger car values have decreased slightly

According to the Auto Trader Retail Price Index, the average price of a used car advertised by retailers remained stable in August at an average of £13,001; a slight decline on the £13,115 recorded in July.

After removing the impact of mix (changes in the types of vehicle entering or leaving the market), like-for-like advertised prices in August contracted -1.3% year- on- year. Used car advertised prices have been impacted by the market corrections to trade valuations which were made through the summer. These marginal decreases in residual values follows the automotive boom of new car registrations in 2015 and 2016 which resulted in a large volume of stock for cars in the three to five-year age range. Cars aged 10 to 15 years still show like-for-like price growth (0.8%).

Like-for-like prices for diesel and petrol vehicles decreased by -1.7% and -1.4% respectively while alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) continued their upward trend, recording 5.7% year-on-year growth in August. Petrol vehicles have an average advertised price of £11,556, diesels £14,202 and AFVs £21,782.

Despite the slight dip in sticker prices, the demand for second-hand cars remains solid as reflected in the number of searches on the Auto Trader marketplace. In August, searches for used and ‘nearly used’ vehicles saw a 4% year-on-year increase.

Karolina Edwards-Smadja, Director of Commercial Products at Auto Trader, explains, “Used car prices will naturally fluctuate, but over the last few months there’s been a variety of unprecedented factors affecting average prices, not least the realignment of market values over the summer, which resulted in some cars having up to £1,000 knocked off their sticker price.

“Supply and demand is less of an issue, but we shouldn’t entirely dismiss the impact the spike in new car registrations three to four years ago has had.  Add to the mix the ongoing   economic uncertainty and there’s clearly been an unusual amount of pressure placed on second-hand car values. It will be interesting to see whether these factors have any further influence during the closing quarter of 2019.”

Search volumes

The percentage of searches by fuel type changed slightly in August. Petrol cars are still the most popular, accounting for half of all fuel searches (50%), diesel cars have increased to 42% (up from 41% last month) while 7% of searches by fuel type are for AFVs.

About the Auto Trader Retail Price Index

The Auto Trader Retail Price Index combines and analyses data from c. 500,000 trade used car listings every day, as well as additional dealer forecourt and website data (manufacturer, fleet and leasing disposal prices, in addition to pricing data from over 3,000 car dealership websites), ensuring the Index is the most accurate reflection of the live retail market.

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