Monthly Market Update, August 2023 edition

by James Hewitt
1 October 2023 4 min read
Broad Arrow

Welcome to the Hagerty monthly market update, where we work to get an in-depth feel for market trends by extensively parsing data from the last month of sales and comparing that to historical reference points. This edition addresses August, and considers sales from the biggest week of auctions of the year—Monterey.


  • Monterey car week auctions concluded with the second highest total in car week history but were hit by headwinds from a cooling market. The factors currently affecting the market are
    • increased discipline at the higher end of the market
    • weakening demand from new collectors
    • higher prices that have given pause to buyers at the upper end of the market
  • Overall headwinds are equally affecting live and online auctions equally
  • Despite over $403-million in sales at the Monterey auctions this month, the Median Sale Price metric decreased 2 points. This is due to the median sale price at Monterey this year dropping 13-percent compared to Monterey 2022.
  • Optimism among our industry experts is at its lowest point since the start of the pandemic when all live auctions were canceled – citing soft prices in the lower end of the market.
  • Online sales saw a 1% increase in total sales as the market becomes saturated and sell-through rates drop

Overall Market Rating

The August Hagerty Market Rating has dropped one point from July and now sits 7 points below a year ago and 11 points above the five-year low.


Total sales are down 11% for the month of August versus 2022, and the average price has dropped 14% from 2022.

For the year to date, the average price has increased 1% from 2022 year-to-date and total sales increased 7%.

Sell-Through Rate and Offerings

The increase in total sales is attributed to a 15% increase in the number of vehicles offered at auction and 12% increase in the number sold. As the offerings are increasing the sell-through rate has dropped two to three percentage points across all auction types.

Focusing on just the month of August shows the number of offerings at live auctions down 8% and the sell-through rate steady but low. Online auctions grew for the month with 11% more offered but only 6% more selling. Currently it appears for every percent increase in the number of cars offered yields a half percent increase in the number sold.

Online auction market

Online auction sales were steady from August 2022 and over the year-to-date compared to 2022. August 2023 is the highest monthly total of online auction sales to date. This reverses the October 2022 to Feb 2023 monthly decline in sales.

Live auction market

Live auction sales for August were 16% or $74M below 2022 and 12% above 2022 year-to-date. The decrease is largely due to sales at Monterey auctions falling $76M below 2022's totals.

Market Expectations

The market value of vehicles sold has achieved 96% of the low expectations year to date. The total expected value of low bids (for vehicles with estimates) year to date of sold vehicles is $741M versus $712M in actual market value sold. A $29M difference in expectations versus 2022's $2M difference. Sellers expectations are not meeting buyer's wallets, as evidenced by Monterey's results.

Top 25 vehicles sold

The most valuable vehicle sold in August is a 1957 Jaguar XKSS by RM Sotheby's for $13.21M. Click "show more" in the table below to view the top 25, ending with a 1965 Aston Martin DB5 sold by Gooding & Company for $2.21M.

Top Performing Vehicles

The vehicles most likely to sell when offered at auction over the last 3 months are the 2000-2006 Audi TT, 1976-1985 Mercedes-Benz W123, 1999-2005 Mazda Miata, and 1984-2001 Jeep Cherokee XJ. The Jeep, Audi, and Mazda all had over a 90% likelihoods to sell in the three months window prior, and the market for them shows they are selling for lower prices despite the equivalent or improving likelihood to sell. Of the top 10 vehicles with the highest likelihood to sell, four of ten sold for higher prices over the most recent 3-month window versus the previous window.

Of the top vehicles most likely to sell when offered at auction over the last three months, the Jeep performed the best versus the Hagerty Price Guide. Half of the Jeep Cherokee XJ sales were at least 33% over the Hagerty #3 value. Overall, the vehicles with the best combination of likelihood to sell and selling for high prices are the 1961-1969 Lincoln Continental, 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice and the 1970-1974 Plymouth Barracuda.

The chart below contains a normalized score combing the sell-through rate and HPG performance of all vehicle groups with which we saw at least 15 offered for sale at live or online auction. The best performing vehicle in each timeframe receives a score of 100.

Half of Mercedes-Benz 280SLs offered at auction over the last three months sold for at least 79% above the "average" Hagerty #3 value for the vehicle. Pontiac Solstices were a surprising addition to the list, and half of Pontiac Solstice sale prices were at least 71% over the #3 HPG value. The worst performers were largely Mercedes-Benz from the 1970s-1990s. These are cars we see a large discrepancy between excellent condition values and average values, which can make a difference of 10x+ in value.

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