The average value of used cars sold at auction increased from £4,828 to £4,862 in July and the total volume of sales rose 6% from 83,637 units to 88,697 units, according to the National Association of Motor Auctions (NAMA).

NAMA chairman Justin Lane said: “During the first two weeks of July the retail market was quieter than many had expected with very unsettled activity. Transactional activity increased across all age segments, although this increase was most pronounced for the fleet age segment. While the overall average price increased slightly, this was entirely due to mix-effects. Average prices by age bracket were down versus June and cars in good condition continued to be extremely desirable and return strong money.

“The last two weeks of July and the first week in August has seen a marked difference in market conditions with a significant increase in enquiries and the associated upward trend in sales. Naturally this has an effect on trade demand, and there has been evidence of a little more activity. However, this is unlikely to result in an imbalance in supply and demand for the time being.

“We are hopeful that the slight rise in conversion rates is likely to improve further during August due to the reduction in available stock as a result of the impending plate change. Convertible values and demand will fade during August while 4x4 demand will begin to build with buyers starting to speculate by acquiring stock before the season gets under way.

“Vendors may hold onto 4x4 products for specialised sales in late September / early October although, with the ever reducing seasonality in the 4x4 market, this may prove to be counterproductive. Demand for small cars will remain strong and family MPVs should also be stable for the next few weeks.”