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AFTER a pause in a breathtaking year of used-car price rises, the market is back to its previous frenzy with used prices now starting to increase once more.

Datium Insights reports that prices in the past week are moving up again, with rising sales volumes and clearance rates.

Datium’s head of business intelligence and product, Tanim Ahmed, told GoAutoNews Premium that the return to rising used-car prices is attributed to the relaxation of COVID restrictions.

The opening-up was concentrated in NSW and Victoria and prompted a return to the market of prospective buyers who were kept away from accessing vehicles because of the restrictions in travel and social distancing.

“We suspected demand had remained strong the last few months but people were unable to comfortably transact, resulting in an easing of used car prices,” Mr Ahmed said.

“With these restrictions removed, this pent-up demand is driving some recent increases in prices.”

Datium data shows used-car prices have risen in the past week by 3.8 per cent, with the biggest rises seen in ex-finance company stock that jumped 20.7 per cent.

It said that clearance rates were slightly up from the previous week at 0.4 per cent, while sales volume lifted 3.3 per cent compared with the previous week.

Mr Ahmed said new-car supply was unlikely to return to normal for at least the next six to 12 months, so he expects demand for used vehicles to remain high and keep prices elevated.

In the report, Datium said that prices for the top 15 traded vehicles were positive. The data was based on the three-year resale price recorded on a weekly basis.

The largest increases were with the Holden Commodore (up 4.01 per cent) and Mitsubishi Outlander (up 3.91 per cent), with others noting strong rises being the Ford Ranger that rose 2.85 per cent in the week, and Subaru Outback which was up 2.01 per cent.

Falls were modest with only three models reporting slips in the resale values. These were the Hyundai i30 (down 0.95 per cent), Nissan X-Trail (down 0.42 per cent), and Toyota Camry (down 0.68 per cent).

Other increases reflected the new-vehicle sales trend with an accent on the utes. Ford’s Ranger showed a three-year resale of 80 per cent this week, compared with 77.1 per cent in the previous week as buyers continued to demand dual-cab utes.

The Isuzu D-Max ute was at 85.5 per cent of resale, up from 85.3 per cent a week earlier, while the Toyota Hilux was 87.9 per cent, up from 87.3 per cent.

Datium also showed the effect of the COVID-19 virus on the used-car market from its March 2020 origins through to this month, then compared its path to the 2008-2009 global financial crisis and its effect on the same market.

Prices of used cars dipped in April 2020 as the pandemic shut down the community’s desire to own a car, then jumped within a month in an upward path that continues today.

By comparison, the GFC affected the market with a fall of about 15 per cent and it remained there for much of the 2008 calendar year, showing the current crisis has been significantly resisted by Australian car buyers.

By Neil Dowling

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