Second-hand car searches soar as motorists tighten belts

Australians looking for quick cash consider selling surplus vehicles.

Having raided superannuation accounts to the tune of $19.1 billion so far due to the coronavirus crisis, Aussies may now be turning their attentions to disposing of second and third cars as a way to shore up shaky bank balances. 

That’s one interpretation of recent data from Gumtree Cars, which released an online car valuation tool recently that has seen more than 133,000 valuations since launching.

A statement from Gumtree Cars said the organisation had introduced its Instant Valuation tool in response to the robustness of the used car market, with its own data recording 155 million automotive searches on the site in the second quarter of 2020, an increase of 19% versus the previous quarter.

Gumtree, which claims to be Australia’s number one market for privately listed cars, said its stats indicated a shift in recent months, with consumers looking to the second-hand economy to save money.

Conversely, sales of new vehicles across the country continue to decline, with June 2020 marking the 27th consecutive month of decreasing sales, and July year-to-date sales down nearly 20% on the same period in 2019. 

A statement from Gumtree Cars cited financial expert Canna Campbell who noted that knowing the value of our homes was seen as essential by many Australians, so it’s not unusual for people to wonder about the value of other significant assets, such as motor vehicles.

“There are many incentives at the moment for quick cash, whether this is through accessing your superannuation, pay day loans, or other means,” Ms Campbell said.

“It’s a testing time with many of us looking to hustle up some quick cash in our lives to help alleviate the pressure, and when it comes to thinking about items we can sell, so often we forget about one of our most valuable assets – our cars.
“As an asset, vehicles can depreciate over time, so knowing the true value of your car now is a good step to confidently making a decision on listing for sale and allocating the right market value.”

A spokesperson for Gumtree said with more than 95,000 new and used car listings on the site and 32,000 new cars listed each week, the organisation had a unique ability to use its data to understand trending behaviour in the automotive market and to see what Aussies were listing and looking for.

“Despite the disruption, 87% of Gumtree Cars users are still intending to purchase their next vehicle within the next three months,” said Richard Dicello, Head of Motors at Gumtree Cars.

“So whether your car has sat gathering dust, or you simply want to know how much something’s worth, we want to arm Aussies with the best insight into how they can utilise the second-hand economy to their advantage.”

US auto analyst Manheim has previously stated that the annual used-car market in Australia is about three million units, or roughly three times the size of the new-car market in a normal year. 

Click here for RACQ’s guide to buying a car