Declining construction and economic woes have knocked down residual values for used equipment, fueling an intense buyer’s market that culminated last month at the world’s largest machinery auction. More than 7,600 people from 75 countries jumped online or traveled to Florida as Ritchie Bros. held an unprecedented six-day sale of 8,300 lots, a 34% increase from last year. Despite the surge in machinery spread out over the 200-acre yard, the auction grossed only $184 million, a 3% decline over 2008, dragging down price averages 28% overall to $22,169. A higher number of smaller lots and a more diverse mix of equipment "had a meaningful effect" on that price difference, notes Ritchie Bros. CEO Peter Blake. The sell-off was consigned from 550 companies and drew 3,000 Internet bidders. Ritchie Bros. holds the massive auction near Orlando every February.

Going Once, Going Twice... Volume Soars but Prices Plunge at Ritchie Bros. Annual Auction
Photo: Ritchie Bros.