CARMEL, Ind. — Tom Kontos, chief economist for ADESA Analytical Services, reported this week that wholesale prices in May softened from their April peak, although they remained significantly above year-ago levels.

Kontos said in his Kontos Kommentary report that May’s downturn could be a precursor to further softening, especially in areas such as the Northeast where the growth in off-lease supply is expected to be concentrated.

“Retail demand, particularly for ‘certifiable’ units for record CPO sales, helped absorb off-rental volume and growing off-lease supply without significant price declines,” Kontos said. “However, there was some hesitancy from a few sellers to accept May’s lower prices, and this was reflected in low conversion rates for those consignors.”

During the month, wholesale used-vehicle prices averaged $10,321 — down 1.5% compared to April and up 5.4% relative to May 2013, according to data from ADESA Analytical Services. Truck prices continued to hold firmer than car prices.

Kontos also noted that prices for used vehicles remarketed by manufacturers were down 1.4% month-over-month and up 5.0% year-over-year, as more off-rental program units entered the market — many of which were not sold.

Prices for fleet and lease cosignors were down 1.5% sequentially and up 4.2% annually, as more off-rental risk units entered the market, as well as more off-lease vehicles. Dealer consignors saw a 2.5% average price decrease during the month vs. April, and a 3.7% uptick vs. the previous year, as they wholesaled units obtained in part from trade-ins generated via May’s strong new-vehicle sales.

Additionally, retail used-vehicle sales in May were up 12.3% month over month and 3.9% year over year, according to data from CNW Marketing/Research. Autodata reported that sales of certified pre-owned vehicles were a record 207,371 units, up 7.4% vs. April and up 10.9% from the prior year, Kontos noted.