iPhone: eBay prices hit as stocks recover

iPhone prices on eBay have been disappointing for would-be entrepreneurs looking to make a quick killing

News that stocks of Apple iPhones have been replenished in Apple stores has hit would-be iPhone entrepreneurs attempting to make a killing on eBay .

The eBay secondary market for iPhones has been significantly slower today than earlier this week. At 9.30am New York time (2.30pm in UK), there were fewer bidders and iPhones were going for lower prices than at any time since the weekend. The 8GB iPhones are currently selling for around $660-$720 (£330-£360), while 4GB iPhones are going for around $540-$580 (£270-£290).

Reports that 43 per cent of Apple stores now have iPhones in stock have eased fears of an iPhone shortage, apparently impacting on the re-sale market. Just 24 hours before, it appeared the iPhone would completely sell-out across the US in its first week on sale.

However, Apple's significant restocking appears to have reassured would-be eBay purchasers that Apple stores would soon have iPhones in-store. Even in areas currently out of stock, including California and Texas.

Although the number of Apple stores selling out of iPhones has risen for most of the week, the supply of iPhones on eBay have been plentiful. Many buyers appear to have bought multiple handsets to sell for a hefty mark-up on eBay and Craigslist . The result is lower-than expected prices for re-sold iPhones.

iPhone: bad investment

The New York Times ran an article yesterday claiming that the iPhone has proved a bad investment. Many re-sellers have seen disappointing returns on what they thought would be a quick and easy way to make money.

Initially, prices upwards of $1000 (£500) for a $599 (£300) 8GB iPhone were posted on eBay after launch last Friday. However, those sort of prices have proved wildly optimistic.

As Apple store sell-outs were reported earlier this week, eBay prices for the 8GB iPhone did move upwards towards the $800 (£400) mark.

But since then, iPhone prices on eBay have eased back. And many eBay iPhones have remained unsold as supply satisfied demand at prices around the $700-$750 (£350-£375) mark - and that's before sales tax. Now, with Apple re-stocking its stores ahead of the weekend, expect margins to fall even further.