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Used van buyers are having to pay more for older vans that have covered more miles. It all goes back to the dearth of supply caused by the collapse of new van sales during the recession

IT’S not just the new van market that’s soaring – many businesses are snapping up used vehicles too, and that’s pumping up prices.

According to used vehicle specialist Manheim, average used van values have jumped by 5.5 per cent over the past year, despite those vans generally being older, with significantly more miles on the clock.

the average value of used vans jumped by 5.5 per cent over the past year

The average LCV sold at auction rose from £4179 in December 2012 to £4405 in December 2013 – £226 more – but those vans were on average three months older and had covered another 1200 miles than vans sold a year earlier.

According to Manheim commercial vehicles head, James Davis, the problem lies in a continuing shortage of good quality, low mileage vans at auction.

“Comparing an average van at auction today with one we would have seen a year ago highlights the remarkable state of the current market,” Davis adds.

Manheim’s monthly analysis of used van values shows variations, with car-derived vans bucking the trend. Here, although three to four year-old vehicles are costing around £668 more than a year ago they are generally four months younger and have covered 5000 fewer miles.

Well over half (64 per cent) of small panel vans sold in December were more than five years old, the average being 7.5 years. Compared with December 2012 these vehicles were seven months older, but had 2500 fewer miles on the clock for the additional £327.

Half of the large three tonne-plus panel vans going under the hammer were 82 months – nearly seven years old. That’s four months older than in December 2012, but with similar mileage, and an average selling price hike of £679.

According to Davis the cause of the current market conditions can be traced back five years to the recession. “The wholesale CV market is highly sensitive to supply and it has always been challenging to predict de-fleet volumes – it is the scarcity of good stock coming up for auction now, which can be traced back to the recession of 2008, which is largely responsible for the current market conditions.

“That said, those corporate fleets with access to funds back in recessionary times could really reap the benefits of selling three to five year old product in the current market.”

He believes that prices will remain strong well in to 2014; “There is more optimism around the business sector in 2014, with lending to SMEs reported to have increased and housing and construction projects restarting.”

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