Average used van values were £510 higher in May than during the previous month, according to data from auction company Manheim.

It said this was due to strong demand from fleet, OEM, and rental customers, with prices also up on the same time last year and 62.2% up on pre-pandemic averages.

The rise in prices came despite the average age and mileage of vehicles being sold also increasing, to 65.2 months and 88,679 miles respectively, increases of three months and 15,370 miles compared with one year ago.

Despite the strong market showing, Matthew Davock, director of commercial vehicles at Manheim’s parent company Cox Automotive, is advising caution.

He said: “With all the current headwinds facing the automotive sector, you can understand why caution remains the overall buzzword for franchise and independent dealers today. That said, improvements in the data for May demonstrate that the market is holding firm.

“We have seen LCV guide values decrease by 3.7% on average going into June at three years, 60,000 mileage LCV product; the largest single movement in a month for a decade and the third month in a row where we have seen LCV guide values reduce. 

“It sounds negative but this should not come as a major shock, since guide value reductions were very much the norm during pre-covid times. Therefore, this is a sign that the market is returning to something resembling normal levels, in some respects.”

Davock added that with Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders figures showing a 25% reduction in new LCV registrations, it was highly likely that further shortages in the wholesale market would be seen during the months ahead.

He concluded: “While the wholesale LCV market has not had the buoyancy we saw last year, guide values reducing more in line with market conditions will help ensure it remains resilient during the summer period heading our way.”