Stock available at auction continues to grow, with bigger sales now commonplace.

Although sales are back up to recognisable levels,they are down 7.9% on January last year. Nevertheless, quality stock is at a premium, forcing buyers to pay more for the best examples.

As a result, average prices paid across all sectors is over £600 higher than 12 months ago and is at their highest level since last September. The average mileage of stock sold during the month reduced slightly to 75,469 miles, while average age reduced by 2.1 months to 63.1 months.

Sales in January were 78.2% higher than in December, with nearly 4,700 more vehicles sold. Small and medium panel vans remain the most popular at auction, making up nearly 70% of all stock sold.

Generally, buyers have been more selective, actively seeking out only the best stock available. This has resulted in first-time conversion rates falling to a 12-month low of 73%.

Volumes of Ford Transit Connects in the used market have increased, with buyers typically after the higher-specification Trend and Limited stock. Higher-spec models from Citroen, Peugeot and VW have also sold well, as have older but clean examples of the Fiat Doblo, previous-generation Ford Transit Connect, Renault Kangoo and Vauxhall Combo. Sadly, the Vauxhall Astravan is more estate car by design and is now showing its age.

Although once popular, most examples at auction look tired and in need of more than just a little TLC.

The continued oversupply of the Ford Transit Custom has seen prices come under pressure over the month, with many poorer examples overlooked. The Vauxhall Vivaro, another well-established van, has had little trouble in selling over the month, especially when offered in Sportive trim. The latest-generation Mercedes Vito is a now regular sight, with values firming for the best examples. The VW Transporter van has been conspicuous by its absence of late, with examples in short supply. Higher-specification Kombi models have been highly sought after by both the trade and convertors, trying to source stock before the summer.

A lack of quality stock in the large panel van sector continues, with most examples worked hard in their first life. Some low-mileage ex-utility Ford Transits in silver have been filtering through the auctions and have performed well. Damage is an issue in this sector, with many buyers not willing to put the time and effort into the repairs, even if regularly serviced.

Later-plate Citroen Relay, Peugeot Boxer and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter models with sensible miles have performed well. The shortage of dropside and tipper models saw the best presented perform well, while many of the Luton and low-floor Luton vans offered over the month have been in a poor condition and did not sell.

Values of 4×4 pick-ups continue to weaken as supply outweighs demand. Extras such as canopies and off-road tyres may broaden appeal, but a £470 fall in the average price paid and a 25% decline in first-time conversions confirm that this sector continues to struggle. Older Euro4 and Euro5 double-cab models sold if the mileage was sensible and condition good. Values for Land Rover Defender and Discovery models continued to fluctuate wildly, dependent heavily on specification, mileage and condition.

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