For the first time in several months, the classic car market saw a decline in activity last month when compared year-over-year to March 2022. While we have been seeing a decline in Sell-through Rate (STR) and Average Price for a while, it’s notable that last month Dollar volume was down 8% and sold listings were down 5%.
But the market as a whole is not declining – this is a sign of the stabilization we’ve been expecting after strong, continuous growth for more than 2 years.
There are 2 main takeaways for you this month:
- Industry growth, driven by Online auctions, is slowing down: Online auctions created strong growth for the industry over the Pandemic, but now we are seeing that stabilize. Even though there was a 6% increase in number of listings sold online in March, Dollar Volume from those sales is down 7% – marking the first time that we've seen a decline year-over-year for online auctions. Although it's important to note that decline is very slight, not alarming by any means.
- Live auctions events are back: While online auctions are stabilizing, live auction events that showcase well-curated catalogs of high-value cars are experiencing strong results – like the ones at Amelia Island this month. This is driven by many factors, not the least of which is looming fears of a recession – as classic cars have proven to be a valuable asset during past economic turmoil.
As we have noted in the past few months, this market stabilization is expected, and not alarming. The market is shifting and resetting to a new "normal" in the post-pandemic world. Smart buyers and sellers are still having great success in the market, and are going to have a lot of fun driving their "assets" around this Spring – after all, that's what it's all about!
And for all the data geeks out there... Here are the charts you came for:
While the auctions at Amelia Island saw a 28% increase in Dollar Volume from last year, Online auctions declined 7% and Other Live auctions (not at Amelia) declined almost 50%. This latter number is driven mainly by some auction houses not hosting the same auctions in March this year as they did last year.
While more cars were sold this year at both Amelia and Online, the reduction in the number of Other Live auctions resulted in an overall decline in Sold Listings year-over-year.
Amelia 2023 Auction Results
We can't provide a recap of March without noting the auctions in Amelia. Every March, the major US auction houses come together for annual auctions in Amelia Island, Florida. As mentioned previously, many of the key sales this month happened in Amelia, showcasing the strength of the high-end of the market even amongst overall declines.
Top 10 Sales in March 2023
It's no surprise that the Top 10 Sales in March all took place during Amelia, with Gooding & Company taking the top spot with this 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider that sold for over $18M – making it not only the top sale in March, but also the top sale so far in 2023.
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Top 10 Flips & Flops in March 2023
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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Results are included from the following auctions in March 2023:
- ACC Auctions
- Bring a Trailer
- Cars & Bids
- Catawiki Classic Cars
- Clasiq Auctions
- Collecting Cars
- Fast Car Bids
- Formula Auctions
- Guys with Rides
- Hagerty Marketplace Auctions
- H&H Auctioneers
- Hemmings Auctions
- Marqued Auctions
- OneMoreCar Auctions
- Overland Exchange Auctions
- P1 Groupe Auctions
- Sackey & Co
- The MB Market
- The Market by Bonhams