Seasonal changes as well as some exogenous shocks led to shifts in the narrative as we put a bow on the third quarter. However, the underlying uncertainty caused by high demand and limited supply remains.
In somewhat of a surprise move, we saw inventory levels increase in September with the Vehicle Availability Index reading 82.3, an increase of 4.7% from August. However, this was likely caused by both a cyclical decline in used sales in September as well as the petrol shortage at the end of the month, which could have caused consumers to delay purchases.
One trend that continued and picked up pace in September was the increase in average listing prices. The average used price increased 6.2% to £17,928; the figure is even more impressive when compared to last year, with prices now up 28.6%. With new vehicle assembly likely to remain impacted in 2022, it’s probable that we’ll see additional price increases in the coming months.
Another data point that continued to accelerate was days-on-market which dropped to 56 days in September, a decrease of 8.8% from August and down 18.4% year-over-year. Even with the slight increase in inventory for the month, more churn is taking place.
Seasonal declines in used sales could help to bolster used inventory somewhat in the fourth quarter. However, with new production still impacted, gains will likely be modest, if at all, and average listing prices could increase if consumer demand remains strong.
To learn more about the trends impacting vehicle inventory, download the CarGurus Vehicle Availability Index & Insights September 2021.