Used Car Price Growth Still ‘Resilient’      

The like-for-like price of a used car has risen 28.4% in the past 12 months, marking its 26th consecutive month of year-on-year and like-for-like price growth, according to the latest data from the Auto Trader Retail Price Index (RPI).

The RPI is based on Auto Trader’s daily pricing analysis of around 900,000 vehicles – the most comprehensive market data in the United Kingdom, which will be used by the Office for National Statistics from next year to compile its official inflation estimates.

The like-for-like price of a used car in May was 28.4% higher than a year earlier. However, May’s growth is below April’s record 32.2% annual increase and reflects a continued slowing of the pace of price growth with the lowest annual comparison since last October. But comparisons with 2021 are distorted as Auto Trader’s price data is now overlapping exceptional “once in a lifetime” levels of pent-up demand last May following the end of the third lockdown, when prices were already rising at an annual rate of 8%.

While advert views on the marketplace are 12.6% down on the record levels of demand seen post Covid lockdowns in mid-2021, Auto Trader’s figures show audience and activity onsite remains strong compared to more “normal” pre-Covid levels, with the volume of advert views on its marketplace up 12.4% on May 2019.

Auto Trader’s analysis indicates a very gradual return to a “normal” market rather than a dramatic fall-off in car prices as the industry works through the supply chain pressures which have held back production, despite the rising pressure on consumers from inflation being at a 40-year high. Auto Trader expects these pressures to last into 2023, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine disrupting the supply of some parts.