The 2016 Monterey auction week is one of the most anticipated automotive auction events in recent memory. Economic uncertainty abroad, an upcoming election at home and mixed results at collector car auctions so far this year have everyone wondering how the year’s biggest auction event will play out. Now that the consignments have been announced and the presale estimates set, we can make some predictions. In short, the value of totals this year is likely to decrease. $396 million was the total last year, but given current trends, $370 million is a more reasonable expectation.
Looking at the auction companies selling cars in Monterey, their average sell-through rate for cars valued over six figures has fallen seven percent from this time last year and the rate for cars valued over $500,000 is down nine percent. That suggests a shift from a sellers’ market to a buyers’ market, at least for high-end cars.
The number of cars in Monterey 2016 with estimates over a million dollars (about 125) is roughly the same as last year, but the downward trend in sell-through rates so far this year suggests that more of them won’t meet reserve and when cars that expensive fail to sell, they have a disproportionate impact on an auction’s final sales numbers. The number of cars over $15 million has also more than doubled over last year from three to seven, so the total sales value at the end of the week depends hugely on how many of these cars meet reserve.