What's the deal with vehicle valuations?

Club 4x4's Kalen Ziflian looks at when the COVID-19 price bubble for used cars will burst.

Club 4x4

I DON’T know about you lot, but there isn’t much I like more than scouring the classifieds.

I’m sure I’m not alone in affectionately remembering grabbing the Trading Post from the local newsagency to browse through the automotive listings. Obviously the paper version is long gone; replaced with a website that features myriad different resources where you can squander your time dreaming, researching, sharing and just staying in touch with what’s on the market.

One thing I’ve noticed lately is a dramatic increase in valuations across anything automotive. COVID-19 seems to have affected the cost of everything from pets to caravans to Suzuki Sierras – the latter the most relevant, as I’ve always wanted to do a build on one.

SKY HIGH: Pandemic purchasing sees record-high prices

I recently caught up with a mate who trades unique and collectable vehicles, and he noted a significant reduction in supply over the last few months. A record number of people are renewing leases rather than restarting with a new vehicle, and, generally, people are hanging on to cars they’d otherwise move on; presumably out of financial uncertainty. He went on to note that the total number of listings on some of the largest car classified websites is down by up to 50 per cent – a massive number that justifies his statement regarding supply.

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On the demand side, with the associated COVID-related border closures, those who are lucky enough to have disposable income have significant sums of money to throw into new toys. This supply-and-demand cycle is also causing speculative trading, which has resulted in even more artificial inflation.

Aside from all this, I think we are in a really interesting space with 4x4s where we are seeing a range of vehicles bucking the traditional valuation trend. I will regularly get certain vehicle types come across my desk and I will conduct a bespoke valuation based on a showcase of the vehicle and some online research.

Think all manner of Defenders, 1HDFTE Cruisers and TD42 Patrols, along with older units like 60s and the like that are now approaching historic status and becoming eligible for special registration schemes. I am seeing more and more people restore and preserve these old girls in the same way someone would do to an old Torana or MGB. The difference, though, is that many of these owners will still use these units off-road, which is really nice to see.

It’s hard to tell when or if this bubble will end. If you’re not like me and don’t get emotionally attached to vehicles, it may be a good time to sell up and make a quid! At the very least, make sure you know what it’ll cost to replace if the worst were to happen – you may be in for a surprise!

*Kalen Ziflian is GM of Club 4x4 Insurance


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Kalen Ziflian

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