With the summer holiday season over, used traders headed back to the auctions.

Sales are busy, both physically in the auction halls and online with vendors reporting steady conversion rates.

August recorded a 9.2% rise in sales at auction (+1.5% on August 2017), with buyers paying 13% more on average than at this time last year. The average age of sold stock in August increased by 1.7 months to 63.5 months while first-time conversion rates rose for the first time since April to 79.6%.

Used buyers continue to focus on damage and specification and will pay more for the cleanest and straightest stock. Safe in this knowledge, vendors aiming to achieve the best sale prices are encouraged to present their stock in the best possible condition.

Challenges relating to road restrictions driven by congestion charging, Clean Air Zones and Ultra Low Emission Zones are forcing some traders to concentrate on the newest available stock, with growing premiums paid for the best Euro6 stock.

The great-looking and reliable Ford Transit Connect Limited commands interest from both trade and end users. There is similar interest in the Citan, where the Mercedes-Benz brand means a lot, with the 109 Long van and crew van in metallic colours proving popular.

The Citroen Berlingo Enterprise remains as desirable as ever with the nicest examples in colour selling well. Older stock has a loyal following too, with the best prepared Renault Kangoo, Vauxhall Combo and Citroen Berlingo attracting interest from trade buyers. This popular sector has seen average sale prices increasing by more than £500 over the past year.

The evergreen VW Transporter performs at its best if fitted with aircon, but with relatively small numbers available, any T5 or T6 model sells well. Small, but growing numbers of the new Citroen Dispatch and Renault Expert are available at auction, but most emanate from ex-rental sources without aircon.

The Ford Transit Custom is everywhere, resulting in growing downward pressure on values for all but the best examples.

The demand for crew vans continues unabated with the best examples from Ford, VW, Renault, Vauxhall and PSA selling quickly, especially when well-specified.

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit, Citroen Relay, Peugeot Boxer, Fiat Ducato and Renault Master have received the attention of buyers this month with most selling strongly.

Good-condition dropsiders and tippers on Ford chassis have sold quickly, while Lutons on any chassis sell if the mileage is sensible. Minibus values have firmed a little of late with plenty of interest for the nicest examples.

Although there remains a general oversupply of 4x4s in this sector, over 1,600 found new homes during August. The nicest examples with plenty of extras coupled to automatic transmissions have proven the most popular.

Similarly, a shortage of workhorse 4×2 and 4×4 models in the marketplace resulted in increased demand and strengthening prices. Any limited or special edition lifestyle models were eagerly bought by the trade keen on something a little different, while at the lower end of the market, clean and tidy 2006-2010 stock, quite often sold as ‘margin’ vehicles, has been snapped up without hesitation.

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