Price growth for used cars on the Auto Trader platform reached another all-time high in September, posting a 21.4% like-for-like increase.

Such is its confidence in the continued health of the used car market, Auto Trader predicts a total of circa 7.75m used car sales in 2021, which is significantly higher than other commentators.

Price growth has also been affected by ongoing used car supply challenges: according to the Auto Trader Market Insight tool, which is available to use for all retailers, supply was down 5.2% last month when compared to September 2020.

The continued acceleration in prices has, in part, been fuelled by the massive levels of consumer demand in the market, which is reflected in the huge growth in traffic to Auto Trader over recent months. September saw 65.6m cross platform visits, a 31% increase on the same period in 2019. The amount of consumer time spent on the marketplace held steady at 10m hours, an increase of 20% on 2019.

As the fuel crisis arose towards the end of September, EVs share of new car advert views soared, hitting a record high of 26.5% on 28th September. On 1 September, this was 14.2%, demonstrating the effect of the fuel shortage. This demand was also reflected in leads, with EVs share of new car leads also hitting all-time highs towards the end of September, peaking at 28% on 28 September versus 10-15% at the start of September.

Richard Walker, Auto Trader’s director of data and insight, said: “Used car prices have continued their 18-month trend of posting record-breaking growth. While a mere 6.1% price growth was enough to set records in August 2020, this figure pales in comparison to September 2021’s mammoth 21.4%, currently the highest ever monthly price increase.

“A large part of this growth has come from growing demand for EV vehicles, which, supercharged by the fuel crisis, is now outpacing supply. The real story only becomes visible when applying a week-by-week analysis. While in the first week of September – i.e. before the fuel crisis – retailers were actually more likely to be cutting the price of their EVs, the increased demand arising from the fuel crisis saw retailers raise EV prices later in the month. On average, £156 was added to EV prices on 28th September, for example, and prices continued to rise as September came to a close.”

Sue Robinson, chief executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), added: “Dealerships have experienced a surge in enquiries for electric vehicles most notably due to the recent petrol shortages and EV demand has risen, with the highest month-on-month increase in EV volume prices. Retailers continue to play a key role in informing their customers and helping them to select the low emission vehicle that best suits them.”