Volumes available at auction increased over the past two months of 2018 – however, numbers sold reduced significantly.

A near record high September sales figure of just under 11,400 units fell to just under 6,000 in December with buyers becoming ever more selective. However, prices are higher than at the same point last year, remaining steady over the past quarter.

December auction sales saw a 42.5% decline, with nearly 4,500 fewer vehicles sold versus November. Although a seasonal sales dip was expected, the 2018 6.9% decline against the same point last year is concerning. The reduction in available quality stock and concerns over the economy appear to be making buyers cautious.

Average sale prices increased by only 0.5% over the month while the average age of stock sold reduced by 0.5 months to 65.2 months. The average mileage of stock sold during the month again remained static, while first-time conversion rates dropped a further 3% to 76.3%, the second consecutive monthly fall.

The small van sector continues to have most success with the higher-specification models such as the Citroen Berlingo Enterprise, Ford Transit Connect and Volkswagen Caddy Highline actively sought by buyers. Three- to five-year-old examples of the Fiat Doblo, Renault Kangoo and Vauxhall Combo remain desirable if in the right condition.

An oversupply of the Ford Transit Custom, Renault Trafic and Vauxhall Vivaro has seen prices come under pressure for many of the base models. Strongest values are reserved for the Volkswagen Transporter, which is in short supply, or later-plate Mercedes-Benz Vito models, particularly the 114 and 116 Long versions.

Medium panel vans remain the most popular at auction with nearly 40% of all vans sold coming from this sector. However, the oversupply of similar stock has seen both volumes and sale prices come under downward pressure during the month.

Sales of large panel vans dropped by over 700 units in December as the lack of quality stock continues. The best examples commanded strong prices – however, average mileages increased during the month, resulting in prices falling by nearly £300. Anything in good condition gains buyer attention with vans from PSA, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz selling quickly when offered with sensible mileages.

An oversupply of pick-ups has not helped demand with limited interest resulting in sales declining to under 900 units for December as prices continue to weaken for the majority of Euro4 and Euro5 double-cab models. But the enhanced specification of Euro6 versions sees values firming. Values for the Land Rover Defender continue to fluctuate wildly from week to week, dependent heavily on mileage and specification.

Andy Picton is chief commercial vehicle editor of Glass’s, the used vehicle valuation experts.