Ritchie Bros: excavator prices get a lift from strong demand

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An equipment supply shortage and backlog of work in the United States has fuelled buoyant pricing for excavators and other construction assets, according to Ritchie Bros.

Unlike 2016, which saw pricing dips across sectors, this year has seen a reverse trend with demand outstripping supply, leaving companies hungry for assets needed to begin projects.

“There is a backlog of large projects, particularly in the US, with governmental business and different work environments tied to manufacturers being behind in their manufacturing.” said Doug Olive, senior vice president of Ritchie Bros. “It has equated to strong demand for low-hour, well-maintained units at our auction sales.”

About 10 months into Ritchie Bros.’ 2017 auction season, the company sold more than 8,600 excavators, including about 4,800 hydraulic excavators, 1,150 midi excavators, 2,600 mini excavators, and 30 demolition excavators at our onsite auctions. About 18 per cent of the excavators sold in 2017 were sold at Canadian auctions.

“The delays and backlog of work is really driving pricing,” Olive said. “We’re seeing it across all asset sizes, which is something new. Over the past few years, larger excavators have been a challenge, but now we’re seeing strong demand for all sizes and models.”

 Big-ticket excavators sold at Ritchie Bros. auctions in 2017:

  • A 2013 John Deere 670G hydraulic excavator sold for CA$465,000 at an auction in Saskatoon, SK in June 2017.
  • A 2013 Caterpillar 374DL VG hydraulic excavator sold for US$420,000 at an auction in Edmonton in September 2017.
  • An unused 2016 Caterpillar 352F VG hydraulic excavator sold for US$410,000 at an auction in Orlando in February 2017.
  • Two 2014 Caterpillar 336EL hydraulic excavators sold for a combined CA$760,000 at an auction in Edmonton in April 2017.
  • An unused 2016 Hitachi ZX490LCH-6 VG hydraulic excavator sold for US375,000 at an auction in Orlando in February 2017.