Used van prices continue to strengthen

Used panel vans have been likened to fine wines for continuing to appreciate in value at auction despite a marked increase in their age.

According to Manheim’s latest monthly analysis on the wholesale light commercials market, the sector bounced back during September, with average selling prices of vans at auction rising to £4,253 (an increase of £177 from the previous month). However, this value increase hides the fact that the level of quality stock is reaching a critical point.

Tim Spencer, commercial vehicle manager at Manheim Remarketing, said: "As we predicted last month, we have seen values and conversion rates increase across the board after the summer. We are likely to see average selling prices continuing to rise over the coming months as supply and demand plays out.

"Competition for all vehicles has not been this fierce in a long time. Panel vans remain very popular at auction, yet with a record number of them being over 60 months old, this month’s analysis needs to be accompanied by a word of warning. Rising van prices can’t continue indefinitely.”

Considering the figures in more detail, 49% of all vans sold by Manheim in September were panel vans. 58% of small panel vans sold in the month had an average age of 91 months (up from 86 months in August). For the large panel van sector (under 3 tonnes), 59% of units sold had an average age of 85 months (up from 77 months in August). 43% of large panel vans (over 3.0 tonnes) sold in September had an average age of 81 months (the same as August).

James Davis, Manheim’s head of commercial vehicles, said: "Despite the seasonal bounce back in average selling price, we’ve seeing a record proportion of older, higher mileage vans coming to auction in recent weeks. Couple this with the fact that stock levels remain low at present, and it’s easy to see why prices are strong right now.

"However, this artificial high cannot continue and I expect that values could realign by as much as 10% in the first half 2014. The laws of supply and demand can’t be ignored and these strong values will not continue indefinitely, as we will inevitably reach a natural tipping point."

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