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Used Car Prices Skyrocket Due to Pandemic

Márton Jász 2021.04.21.

As a result of the pandemic, the demand for used cars in the Hungarian car market has increased, and at the same time the average prices have also increased by 33 percent, according to a report conducted by Használtautó.hu.

According to the site’s data, the increase in demand and the rise of prices did not stop in the used car market. Average advertising prices of 3.1 million forints (EUR 8,600) in December last year were already above 3.7 million forints (EUR 10,255) in March 2021. Moreover, compared to March 2020, an increase of almost 1 million forints (EUR 2,770), or 33.2 percent can be observed.

Although the number of searches launched in the car market also fell in March and April last year, buyers and interested individuals returned in May 2020, and their numbers have only increased since then. In the first quarter of this year (2021), a 35 percent increase in searches was reported, and in March they registered almost 39 percent more searches than last year.

At the same time, higher demand is only one of the drivers of price increase, as both the price of new cars and the purchase of used cars abroad and their import became more expensive due to last year’s forint exchange rate changes,”

said Mátyás Katona, expert from Használtautó.hu.

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While the demand on the site showed a very significant plus this year at the already mentioned 35 percent rate, the changes in ownership are still lagging behind last year’s figures. At the same time, in the first quarter, in addition to the 18 percent decrease in imports, the number of domestic changes of ownership lagged behind by only 3.3 percent, so it can still be seen that the most important base for domestic private buyers is the domestic car supply.

As prices rose in contrast with the effects of the pandemic, the preference for used car buyers changed.

With the appreciation of personal mobility, new customers have entered the market who have so far either been unable or unwilling to afford to buy their own car. Even though most searches by price was topped at 1 million forints (EUR 2,770), and searches up to 1.5 million forints (EUR 4,157) were second, people were more likely to search for used cars capped at half a million forints (EUR 1,385) in third place, rather than the 2 million (EUR 5,537) range which was dominant in the pre-pandemic period.

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At the same time, there has been a change in the demand of the most popular models as well on the online interface.

While most people were looking for the Skoda Octavia in 2020 (approximately 5.5 million times), this year’s favorite used model after the first quarter is the Suzuki Swift (with 2.45 million searches). The Skoda Octavia and Ford Focus also received more than 2 million searches, but other top 10 models also received more than 1 million each.

Featured photo illustration by Csaba Jászai/MTVA