eBay Motors Group

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Used car prices and stock levels stable in January, reports eBay Motors Group

  • Average prices level out at £17,863, up just 0.8% month-on-month
  • Stock levels average 46.7 units per dealer, on a par with December
  • Days in stock rise to 45.5 days but track pre-Covid January averages

Dealers experienced an encouraging start to the year on the back of stable stock levels and advertised prices, although cars took longer to sell, according to eBay Motors Group's January Market View.

Faced with the ongoing shortage of used car stock, dealers entered January with inventories averaging 46.7 vehicles, on a par with 47.1 in December but 10% down year-on-year.

Month-on-month stock levels were consistent across the three main retailing channels with car supermarkets seeing a slight improvement from 351 to 354 units, although down 6.5% from 379 in January 2021.

Franchised dealers averaged 61 units, just one vehicle down month-on-month and year-on-year. Independents average 33 units, the same as December, although 13.4% down year-on-year.

Following the significant gains achieved during the second half of 2021, advertised prices levelled off for the third consecutive month averaging £17,863, up just 0.8% on December but a year-on-year increase of 17.8%.

The biggest month-on-month gains were in the independent sector where prices rose 3.4% to £14,714. While average prices remained static in franchised dealers at £21,808 and car supermarkets at £18,922.

Although average days to sell increased month-on-month from 39.4 to 45.5 days, a rise of 15%, it was an improvement on the 51.2 days averaged in January 2021 when the UK was in a Covid lockdown.

Car supermarkets achieved the fastest sales of 35.1 days, followed by franchised dealers at 45.6 days and independents at 48.8 days.

"January was characterised by some welcome stability across the sector. The continued levelling out of advertised prices was good news for dealer profitability, especially as stock levels remained constant," said Dermot Kelleher, head of marketing and research at eBay Motors Group.

"The rise in days to sell is no cause for alarm as they're actually tracking close to the pre-Covid January levels of 44 days recorded in both 2019 and 2020," he said.

Once again the eBay Motors Group Market View identified several mainstream models achieving extraordinary year-on-year gains.

Heading the list of three year old/30,000 mile models was the Ford Focus with an average advertised price of £19,836, up 35.2% from £14,675 in January 2021.

Followed by the Ford Fiesta up 34.4% from £14,412 to £19,376 and the Vauxhall Corsa, up 33.2% from £12,544 to £16,713, with used demand remaining strong despite being the best-selling new car of 2021

The fastest selling volume car for the month was the BMW 1 Series, with six to eight year old diesel models averaging just 24.9 days to sell, based on over 100 models for sale across eBay Motors Group's platforms

Although EVs remain in short supply in the used car sector, buyer interest, as measured by vehicle views, has been growing since December, while hybrid views were down from their high in June 2021.

Average days to sell for EVs significantly improved year-on-year down from 65.0 to 45.1 days, despite only accounting for 0.9% of listings. This improvement saw EVs outperforming petrol at 46.8 days and on a par with hybrids at 44 days.

"Buyer interest in used EVs is clearly growing with rising online views. This will become a trend to watch over the course of 2022 as buyers increasingly consider alternatives to combustion engines for their next used car purchase and some potentially skipping hybrids in the favour of EVs," said Kelleher.

Data source: Motors.co.uk data, eBay Motors Group Data Warehouse, January 2022 vs December 2021 vs January 2021.

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