The average price of used LCVs sold at auction fell to £8,037 in December, the lowest level since the UK was in lockdown in 2020, according to BCA.

The company said the figure, down from £8,279 in November, continued a general trend which saw prices fall from a peak of £10,325 in April 2023.

BCA said a number of factors had contributed to the decline, including high inflation and rising interest rates affecting consumer confidence, as well as a changing mix of stock, with more lower-grade vehicles coming onto the market following pandemic contract extensions.

In addition, the company said the recovery of the new van market – up by 22% year-on-year in 2023 – had offered more choice to van buyers and took further pressure off the used sector.

BCA UK COO Stuart Pearson said: “As last year drew to a close we continued to see the effects of a two-tier market, where well-presented, higher-grade vehicles attract a lot of interest, while older, higher mileage volume models need to be competitively valued, particularly if they require repair and refurbishment.

“The dynamics that drove demand during the pandemic are well and truly behind us now and we are back to the basics of good remarketing practice.  Proper preparation and good presentation are critical to achieving the best possible prices for used LCVs along with the correct documentation to support the vehicle provenance.”

“Similarly to the car market, there was an extensive period where decision making was generally easy and price expectations were often overachieved, however those that are paying close attention to the true condition of their vehicles and setting realistic reserves are achieving the best results currently.”

Pearson added that the market had seen a steady start to 2024, with interest in vehicles continuing to be highly sensitive to price and condition.  

He said: “These dynamics are not unusual for this time of year and should not be a cause for concern, as there is every expectation that conditions will improve and that 2024 is likely to see a return to more seasonal trends in the wholesale LCV market. 

“With a fairly plentiful supply of new LCVs entering the market and an ageing fleet driving many contract hire returns, I’m sure that this won’t be the last time that we mention that the best results will always be obtained by following the remarketing basics.”