The Collector Car Market Took a Breath In January

Rick Carey

The Hagerty Market Rating appears to have settled around 65 for the time being, as the collector car market resets to pre-pandemic levels. While still on the decline, the 0.01-point drop this month is the smallest the Hagerty Market Rating has seen during its current 10-month-long losing streak.

The Hagerty Market Rating’s corresponding open-ended index is decreasing at a much faster rate. Since its peak in December 2022, the Hagerty Market Index has decreased 20 points and is now below its previous high from 2015.

Last month, nearly 7000 vehicles crossed the block at the Kissimmee and Scottsdale auctions. Broadly, the January auction results confirmed that the market has retreated to 2019-2020 levels. Sell-through rates and inflation-adjusted average sale prices this year were in line with pre-pandemic norms. The Hagerty Price Guide tracked similarly, with its January update showing that the median #3 condition value has dropped to a level not seen since December 2019.

That’s not to say there weren’t any big sales. Mecum sold a 1963 Ferrari 250 California Spider for $17,875,000 and Barrett-Jackson broke the record for a non-alloy 300SL Gullwing at $3.41M.

This solid, but not overwhelming, performance moved optimism among our industry experts to above 50 for the first time in four months. The consensus among them is that values are contracting but the market has stabilized. Buying behavior is back to normal. Bidders are more selective and patient compared to the buying frenzy of 2021-2022, and sellers are setting more realistic reserves. As prices settle, and with less guarantee that a quick flip will result in a profit, speculators will continue to leave the market.

While the U.S. economy continues to stave off a recession, inflation eats away at any growth the Market Rating’s individual metrics may see. While the actual non-inflation adjusted median sale price increased $200 this month to $23,421, the Auction Median Price metric, which adjusts for inflation, dropped 2.35 points to the current value of 39.32. This is the first time this metric has dropped into the 30s since it was added to the Market Rating calculation in 2012.

It is very likely the Hagerty Market Rating will continue to fall, albeit slowly. Next month, many high-dollar cars will be offered at the Amelia Island auctions. If there is a strong showing, we may see April’s Market Rating rise, ending (at least for the moment) its downward march.




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    “While the U.S. economy continues to stave off a recession…” What a joke. We’ve been in one for a bit, the Federal Government just redefined it so they can say we are not in it.

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