The UK’s used car market has demonstrated significant momentum entering the second quarter (Q2) of 2024, with record levels of consumer engagement and a rapid sales pace in March, as per the Auto Trader Group‘s Retail Price Index.  

The index, which incorporates 800,000 daily pricing observations, indicates a slight softening of average prices by -0.7% like-for-like basis and month-on-month in March, aligning with pre-pandemic seasonal patterns. 

The data shows that retail prices in the UK used car market are showing signs of stabilisation, influenced by positive market dynamics.  

It reveals a 6% year-on-year (YoY) increase in consumer demand last month, surpassing the growth in supply, which saw a modest 0.7% rise. This is the lowest level of supply growth recorded since July 2023. 

This increased level of demand is evident from the record number of visits to Auto Trader’s platform in March, marking an 8% year-on-year increase and a 9% jump from February’s strong figures, totalling 81.7 million.  

During the quarter, the marketplace received more than 256.4 million visits, an increase of 18.7 million from Q1 2023. 

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The group said that this high demand is also reflected in the speed of sales, with used cars taking an average of just 25 days to sell in March, two days quicker than in February and three days faster than the same month last year.  

Auto Trader said this rate is the fastest monthly pace ever recorded. 

Besides, Auto Trader noted that ‘nearly new’ cars, less than 12 months old, have seen a surge in both consumer demand, up 30.4% year-on-year, and supply, up 42% last month.  

For older cars aged between ten and 15 years, strong supply growth of 12.1% YoY in March is outstripping a decline in consumer demand, down -3.3% YoY on Auto Trader.  

Auto Trader data and insight director Richard Walker said: “Despite an uncertain economic and political backdrop, we’ve seen a positive start to 2024, with demand remaining robust throughout the quarter.

“But whilst our outlook for the rest of the year is confident, retailers face an incredibly nuanced and complex market which will continue to move at pace.”