2024 Half-time Report

As we cross the line into the second half of 2024, we take this time to reflect on the data from classic and exotic car sales so far this year, and unpack some of the trends that we are seeing.

Overall, there have been a steady uptick in the number of cars sold at auction compared to last year, even as the total dollar volume of these sales has remained stable. On average, more vehicles are being sold for lower prices. This trend is driven by two factors: certain makes and models are seeing a drop in market value, and there has also been an increase in listings of more affordable cars.

A stable market amongst more activity, with growth led by online auctions.

Both live and online auctions have experienced a rise in the number of cars sold, yet it’s the remarkable growth of online auctions that stands out over the past five years. Since 2020, total sold listings have increased by 120%, but online auction sales have skyrocketed by an astounding 500% during this period—and this momentum continues to build month-over-month. While the initial surge was sparked by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in late Q1 2020, it’s clear that online auctions have now become a steadfast fixture, permanently transforming the market landscape.

In fact, we are seeing more players enter the market – with both SoMo and SBX Cars entering the online space this year.

Sold Listings Jan-JuneTotalOnlineLive

... butDollar Volume is steady.

The market has stabilized and evolved considerably since the pre-pandemic years, with both online and live auctions securing their respective shares. And while online auctions are driving the growth in listing count, live auctions continue to lead in dollar volume.

Online auctions reached their peak dollar volume in 2022, and have struggled to surpass that level in both 2023 and 2024, even as the number of sold listings and seven-figure sales continue to rise. On the other hand, live auctions achieved their highest dollar volume in 2023, despite a lower number of cars sold compared to this year. In terms of values, the landscape remains dynamic as both auction formats adapt to evolving market conditions.

Dollar Volume Jan-JuneTotalOnlineLive
2024$2.15 B$910.34 M$1.24 B
2023$2.18 B$903.91 M$1.28 B
2022$2.21 B$939.47 M$1.27 B
2021$1.34 B$580.51 M$763.43 M
2020$767.97 M$173.14 M$594.84 M
2019$955.53 M$111.77 M$843.76 M

The most expensive cars are still sold at live auction.

Solidifying the dominance of live auctions in the top-end of the market, every one of the Top 10 sales so far this year has taken place at live auction. Notably, RM Sotheby's leads the pack, accounting for 3 out of these 10 top transactions.

All but one of the Top 10 Sales were produced before 1980. In contrast, when we look at online auctions only, the top sales showcase a modern twist: all originating from the 2000s.

#1 Online / #18 Overall

#2 Online / #43 Overall

#3 Online / #80 Overall

Records are still being set across all value tiers.

Apart from multi-million-dollar Top Sales, records are being broken across all market segments. Below is a list of records set in individual markets in the first half of 2024, ranked by the largest percentage increase from their previous high sale.

Leveraging our CLASSIC.COM Market Benchmark*, we analyzed over 6,000 individual markets** to find the top Growing and Slowing Markets across three distinct value tiers: over $500K, between $100K-500K, and under $100K.

Under $100K

The highest growing price bracket this year in terms of listings is for cars whose average value is under $40K. In this value tier, we have seen a 16% increase in listings, coupled with a 6% increase in total Dollar Volume. While this does show an overall decrease in average price, many markets did show growth – led by the 3rd Gen Mercury Grand Prix, with 47% growth so far in 2024.

View the full list of Trending Markets under $100K >

Between $100K-500K

Cars in the mid-price brackets are experiencing a decline in overall dollar volume, mainly due to the "selling spree" of 2021-2023 that took pricing and market activity to incredible levels. However, their sales remain steady, as well as their average prices, meaning the market plateaued at those increased prices.

View the full list of Trending Markets between $100K-500K >

Over $500K

On the other hand, the +1M value tier keeps surprising with increased values – after all it only takes a couple of unique cars to be put up for sale for the numbers to surpass previous years’ figures/stats. Although objectively the dollar volume so far in 2024 is a bit short when compared to the record setting 2022, the total is more than double of what it was in 2021 – both in dollar volume and number of listings. The high-end of the spectrum is still very active.

View the full list of Trending Markets over $500K >

What's Next in the second half of 2024?

By no means do we have a crystal ball, but what we do know is:

  1. Online auctions are changing the landscape. The seasonality of the classic and exotic car market before 2020 was led very heavily by the auction schedule. Now, we are seeing more sales every week, especially in the mid and lower tiers. The landscape of the market will continue to shift, and we'll see more online auctions entering the space, and innovations from some of the original players.

  2. Monterey still matters. While the increase in overall activity can be attributed to the lack of seasonality for online auctions, the auctions that take place in Monterey, California in August will still be a major milestone of the year. We are just over one month away from Monterey 2024, and the results at those auctions will have a great effect on overall market sentiment, which drives activity, especially at the high-end of the market.

  3. New classics and affordable enthusiast vehicles will continue a growth trend. As Gen X and Millennials continue to generate disposable income and look for alternate investment strategies – and overall joy of owning the cars of their youth – this trend will continue to grow, especially through online channels.

  4. It's more complicated than ever to buy and/or sell a classic, exotic, or collector car. Should you sell it at auction or dealer? If an auction, which kind – online or offline? And which venue? If you decide to sell through a dealer, how do you know if they are trustworthy and that you are getting a fair price? While we don't have all the answers (yet), you can start by: 

*The CLASSIC.COM Market Benchmark (CMB) is a benchmark value for vehicles in a given Market based on data accumulated by CLASSIC.COM and calculated by a proprietary algorithm that takes into account volume and recency of each data point. CMB can be used to assess the performance of a market over a given time period. However, it does not represent the value of a specific vehicle. 

** A Market on CLASSIC.COM is a grouping of comparable vehicles that have, at a minimum, the same Make, Model, and Model Generation. When relevant for purposes of valuation, a Market may be further segmented by Model Variant, Trim, Transmission Type, Body Style, and other factors. 

Read more in our Glossary of Terms