Used car prices hit by low economic confidence

It’s a mixed picture for used car prices around the country.

HERE’S our round-up of the state of the market in the UK – region by region.

South East Economy Still Shaky

SOUTH EAST average car value: £8,793 (Sample size: 60,081)

Car prices in the South East reflect a generally nervous economic picture, with consumers not wanting to waste a penny. With some of the wealthiest households, it is nonsensical that average car prices should be £605 less than the UK average and still 3% down on June. But Used Car Expert’s Editor points out it is not all bad news, “Prices are 12% up on last month, so if that continues then there is no reason to think we will see dealerships closing.”

North East Economy Bouncing Back

NORTH EAST average car value: £10,044 (Sample size: 28,546)

Dealers in the North East are breathing a sigh of relief as consumer confidence has bounced back in the region. Having had a terrible July, where car prices fell to a desperate £7,796 on average, dealers in the region have fought back, selling cars at an average of £10,044, just 1% lower than June. This is the best recovery of any region, and while prices are now £645 higher than the UK average, prices are still not the most expensive in the UK.

West Midlands Economy Very Strong

WEST MIDLANDS average car value: £9,862 (Sample size: 52,610)

Despite the vast amount of competition in the West Midlands car market, giving consumers a vast amount of choice within a short drive, prices have stayed firm, even as the market dropped and began to recover over the last few weeks. Prices in the region are 8% up on last month and £463 more than the UK average. UsedCarExpert editor Matt Tumbridge commented, “These prices can only reflect high demand for used cars and consumers in the region having money to spend. Good news for the Politicians.”

Economic confidence stronger in Wales

WALES average car value: £8,901 (Sample size: 12,221)

Car dealers have responded to a surge in consumer interest over the last month and increased car prices by 18% on average – the second highest climb in the UK. But becaue this comes on the back of a fallow period prices are still competitive at £8,901 on average.

Scotland Remains Expensive & Stable

SCOTLAND average car value: £9,575 (Sample size: 35,929)

Prices in Scotland are higher than they have been for a quarter, albeit they have only climbed by 3% in the last month. Matt Tumbridge commented, “On the back of a climb of 3% from June to July too, prices are surely heading for a correction soon. An average price of £9,575 is nearly £200 more than the UK average and £900 more than the neighboring North West. Surely car buyers in the Glasgow area are going to start making the journey south to save that kind of money.”

Rip-Off London Continues

GREATER LONDON average car value: £11,068 (Sample size: 37,761)

London’s car prices continue to be the highest in the country, despite the flat lining economy. An average price of £11,068 for the region is 11% up on last month and £1,669 above the national average. Matt Tumbridge said, “London cars can seem low mileage, but that is not always good news, especially with diesel engines where particulate filters clog up without long runs. So people can too easily over-pay for unreliable cars. Our advice in the current market is: head out of town to buy.”

North West Struggles To Compete With North East

NORTH WEST average car value: £8,622 (Sample size: 50,206)

Cars in the North West, while a significant 10% up in August over July, are a thumping £1,422 less, on average, than cars in the neighbouring North East. Matt Tumbridge commented, “Buyers in the North East can save a significant amount of money by driving a couple of hours West. With prices £700 less than the National average and nearly £1,500 less than the North East it’s got to be worth the trip.”

East Midlands Has UK’s Cheapest Used Cars

EAST MIDLANDS average car value: £8,612 (Sample size: 52,602)

Car buyers in the East Midlands are thin on the ground despite dealer discounting. The average price of £8,612 is the lowest regional price in the UK according the Used Car Expert’s latest figures. While the prices have recovered by 15% over the last month they are still 8% lower than June and £786 less than the national average of £9,398.

Northern Ireland Cheaper Than Mainland

NORTHERN IRELAND average car value: £8,675 (Sample size: 2,387)

Cars in NI are cheaper than cars in the UK mainland by £723 despite climbing 8% over the last month. The only cheaper regions are the North West and North East. But with savings of less than £100 on average, it’s not worth the travel or aggravation. Matt Tumbridge pointed out that, “Prices in NI are still 8% down on June so it’s still a buyers market and given the small size, buyers should feel pleased that price remain closely aligned with the mainland.”

East Anglia Economy Makes Steady Progress

EAST ANGLIA average car value: £10,314 (Sample size: 43,133)

Used car prices in East Anglia have improved in line with the national trend. Up 8% on last month’s prices from a low of £9,512 to £10,314, dealers must feel the worst is behind them. Used Car Expert Editor Matt Tumbridge commented, “It is telling that prices in East Anglia have not climbed as much as regions such as Scotland or the North East. This price pattern suggests that consumers are being lured back into the showrooms, but not in the kinds of numbers that allow dealers to be complacent or aggressive in their prices.”

South West Economy On The Up

SOUTH WEST average car value: £8,922 (Sample size: 45,973)

Like East Anglia, the South West stands alone as a micro economy as far as car buying is concerned. A market where buyers return to their local dealer rather than shop around, prices should be steady and firm. However, it couldn’t avoid June’s massive 13% correction in car values nationwide. Since then though, it has begun a typically steady recovery, ending the month up 9% on July and just 4% down on June. At £8,922, prices are still cheaper than the national average of £9,398, and this is something byers in the region should take advantage of.

Used Car Expert’s monthly car values and depreciation report shows the worrying economic dip continues as lack of consumer interest is forcing used car dealers to keep prices low – the average used car price of £9,398 is still £312 lower than June. That’s despite a significant improvement in prices in the last few weeks.

Matt Tumbridge commented, “It doesn’t seem to be getting much easier for the car trade. It’s been a very slow summer and the retail prices, while a bit higher as dealers simply can’t afford to keep ‘giving the cars away,’ are still correspondingly low. So for the savvy car buyer, there is still an opportunity to buy, but as we predicted last month, time is running out.

A regional car values report will be published every month at UsedCarExpert.co.uk/car-values/

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