Every January, we see some of the biggest auctions of the entire year in Kissimmee, FL and Scottsdale, AZ. Many people who are “in the know” use these auctions as a barometer for the upcoming year. The quick summary: growth has slowed, but the market is surprisingly strong!
January over the past 5 years
Last month, we saw almost 8,000 vehicles sell through online and offline auctions for a total of over $614M – another historical record for the industry and a testament to the growing popularity of the collector car market. The growth of online auctions and the shift in generational interest continues to be a boom for the market, even in this more challenging economic environment.
But the market isn’t growing as fast year-over-year as it did during the pandemic. 2023 is emerging as the first year of our “post-pandemic” reality, where we are seeing stabilization. Buyers and sellers are still very active, and records are still being set. That being said, “reserve not met” is being seen more and more – especially online – and many “pandemic buyers” may be looking at post-pandemic losses if they go to sell this year, especially when it comes to the top cooling markets we reported for 2022.
Note: Barrett-Jackson typically hosts their Scottsdale auction in January, but it was postponed in 2021 to March. This may make numbers in January 2020 seem artificially lower than they would be if Barrett-Jackson hadn't been postponed.
Breaking it down...
While January set records overall, the auctions in Scottsdale saw almost even numbers from last year ($255.2M vs $253.5M), and sales at online auctions actually decreased from last January ($130M vs. $136.9M)... so when we compare to 2022, it was Mecum Kissimmee's stellar performance that drove the growth year-over-year. Actually, Mecum Kissimmee set several records for that event in 2023 in three key areas: Sold Listings, Dollar Volume and Average Price.
Scottsdale is smaller, but still strong
While Scottsdale was smaller in size this year, with only 3 auctions represented, it hasn't lost its punch.
Scottsdale may not have the same quantity of listings as Kissimmee, but it makes up for it in Average Price. And with 8 of the Top 10 Sales resulting from Scottsdale, it's also where many of the high-rollers choose to spend their January.
Note: Barrett-Jackson typically hosts their Scottsdale auction in January, but it was postponed in 2021 to March. This effected the average price which would have been in-line with other years if Barrett-Jackson had been in January.
When it comes to Sell-through Rate (STR), Scottsdale reigns supreme again – with Barrett-Jackson having a 100% no reserve auction, the sell-through in the desert was at 99.8% (which our chart below rounds up to 100%). Kissimmee and online auctions then bring down the overall STR for the month – with online auctions continuing to struggle with sell-through. This downward trend in STR from online auctions is likely to stabilize this year as mid-value specialty car sellers begin to reset their pricing expectations from the previous years of non-stop growth.
Of course, we can't end a monthly report without everyone's favorite lists! Without further ado, here are the notable sales of the month:
Top 10 Sales
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Top 10 Flips & Flops
A "Flip" or "Flop" is defined as a car for which we have a previous sale record, so we can determine the net gain/loss and time since the previous sale. Obviously, it's possible that cars have changed hands in private sales between these public listings, but it still provides great insight into the market to see which cars sold for substantial gains or losses over their previous sales.
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