RAC Cars News


Used Cars Getting Cheaper!

By raccars Published

There's some good news for used car buyers, as prices in the early part of 2013 are at their lowest in over a year. On average, a used car now costs £8,540, the cheapest since September 2011.

There is a national divide at play here, with local economic conditions meaning buyers in the South West pay an average of £6,951, versus the North East's £10,805. Prices have fallen more than 5% since November in the South West, Scotland and East Anglia, while the West and East Midlands, in addition to the North East, have seen prices rise, so it could be worth travelling to find the best deal.

The fluctuating prices mean it's worth trying to wangle a discount when buying, as more than half of second-hand car buyers manage to shave a significant amount off the asking prices, with discounts given of nearly £1,000, on average, for both new and used cars. Do your research and go armed with market knowledge to back you up while haggling.

Britain's new car market also saw a boost in 2012, in contrast to the rest of Europe, with more than two million new cars taking to the road. That's more than 5% up on 2011, whereas France and Italy saw falls in new car sales of nearly 15% and 20%, respectively.

Economic strictures are not the only factors at play here, with a survey showing certain cars retain value on the used market far better than others. People carriers lead the way here, with families opting for their versatility over the more traditional hatchback. The Renault Scenic, VW Sharan and Nissan Qashqai are particularly good examples of this trend. While this makes the purchase price unfortunately more expensive for those planning to buy one of these models, it also means the residual values will hold when the buyer comes to sell on.

However, these are the cars to avoid if you are looking for the lowest purchase price second-hand. Luxury cars such as the Porsche 911, Jaguar XK and Mercedes CLK all lose value quickly, making it possible to pick up bargains in that area.

As depreciation peaks in the first three years, the best used cars to buy may be those at about three years old and with relatively low mileage on the clock. In some cases, generous warranty schemes are still in place but up to 60 models have been discovered to lose half of their original value in the first three years.

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