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If you thought the end of the year might bring some normalization to the used vehicle and heavy equipment markets, think again. With two months to go until 2023, there has been little, if any, downward movement in price levels, and best-case predictions are that prices will level off to around 20-25% higher than in 2019-2020.
Even the most optimistic analysis for potential buyers will amount to the fact that normal depreciated loss in value seen year to year for used machinery has not only been wiped out but, has been substantially reversed in the form of appreciation. What is likely to happen is at least another year of inflated values for used equipment until the supply chain issues have been significantly adjusted to allow for new vehicle and equipment manufacturing levels to meet demand again. The effect of this is vastly higher than any typical annual cost of living increase which shakes up every measuring stick used in the past several decades.
This type of market activity has also thrown the appraisal industry for a loop. Recent vintage assets (1-5 years old) can commonly be seen priced where new machinery should be, and even above this level at times. Older equipment (10-20 years) levels are now where you’re used to seeing them for slightly used machines. The longer these trends continue, the more weight appraisers will need to place on this effect.
Common pricing databases are now reflecting these patterns as well. What was once thought to be difficult to support from a longer-term trend perspective is now becoming a permanent adjustment in the market that will likely not reverse even when things start to normalize. Insurance companies will need to consider this if they haven’t already when estimating depreciated replacement cost settlements for personal property. Accountants may see an opportunity to recapitalize their company’s asset values based on the support of the data being presented.
Similar to what has recently occurred with inflation on things like gas and food costs, the price will peak so greatly that when it eventually settles, it will probably remain significantly higher than it was a few years ago. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that the longer-term effects of inflation aren’t a big deal, and that pricing will go back to where it was “back then”. Based on everything we’ve seen in 2022, along with recent predictions from the experts in the field, we should get used to the elevated pricing in the used vehicle and equipment markets.
If you believe an updated valuation of your company’s assets might make sense given these changes in the market, ensure you engage with an accredited, certified appraiser to best understand the effects this may have on your long-term goals.