The wholesale van market has reached a plateau, with demand for used vans set to continue at current levels for at least the next 12 months. That’s according to LCV auction specialist Manheim, which has announced record sales figures in the used van market for February 2021.

Last month’s figures show a 46% increase in sales from the same time in 2020, with the average selling prices of vans increasing from £6,473 to £9,477. This also represents a record average selling price, up 6% on the previous record of £8,936 in October 2020.

James Davis, Customer Insight Director at Cox Automotive, said that while the average selling price of used vans has reached record levels, this doesn’t mean they will increase by the same percentage, even if supply of used vans decreases and demand increases.

“We’ve seen a major change in buying habits because of the effect the pandemic has had on new van sales and the lack of a normal supply of de-fleeted vans,” he explained. “Looking back on the last 12 months, we have seen the most significant upward realignment of used van values in living memory.

“Our retailers generally report healthy activity, but the majority acknowledge their stock holding is between 40 and 60 percent lower year-on-year. One trend to watch is the increasing buyer base; franchise groups and retailers are shifting focus from new to used and we are seeing record engagement levels at auction events.”

Tougher emissions regulations mean that businesses are under pressure to run a fleet of Euro 6-compliant vans to enter urban areas, and this has been another factor contributing to increased demand for these vehicles. Manheim’s shift in stock profile can be seen when comparing data from February 2021 to the previous year. In February 2020, 40% of sold stock was Euro 6; fast forward to the same month this year, and it represented 60% of all stock sold.

Davis added: “As Euro 6 was mandated from 2016, this largely reflects the coming of age of Euro 6 vehicles and their increasing share of used wholesale market volumes. The likelihood is that this split will shift again in the coming months as fleet replacement programmes are delivered.”

Manheim expects the volume of vans available to remain restricted, due to the lower volumes of new registrations. It also expects used vans to continue performing strongly during the next quarter and beyond. Davis added: “With fewer new vans and a rebounding economy as we exit lockdown, used vans offer fantastic value and availability in comparison to new.

“One thing I do not see is a downward price realignment. This is due to the fact increased supply in the used van market will not be a consideration until mid-decade at the earliest, against a strong economic performance. Supply and demand will continue, as ever, to be the key drivers of market performance.”