“Location, location, location” has been everyone’s guiding mantra to buying property for years, and your car is no different! From Aberdeen to Truro, Birmingham to London, your car’s worth can change significantly.
Whether it’s demand, model, or engine size, there are many factors at play. And that’s all before you take into account the regional variations between private and dealership sellers. While a three-year-old Ford Focus with 30,000 miles on the clock may cost £10,399 in London, a trip to Scotland would save you £1,000 to buy the same vehicle.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at where the cheapest areas to buy a car in the UK:
Where demand outstrips supply
The question of regional variations in car prices has been dominating the used car market for years. But a more recent study carried out by CAP, the used-car price guide, analysed 1.2 million car prices online posted by both dealers and private sellers to determine what these variations are.
What stood out the most from the study was how car dealers typically buy stock in one area and then move it to see in another to make an instant profit.
CAP’s retail and consumer specialist Philip Nothard remarked, “there is a lot of geographical discussion going on at the moment between dealer groups because the margins are tight. The idea is to identify which cars attract a premium in which area, and then move stock around the country accordingly.” Which is great news for dealers, but how does this affect car sales in your local area?
Nothard further commented that “many factors affect the pricing of a used car from the numbers available in the market to demand in the local area. Where demand outstrips supply, we see price increases.”
So if buying your next car means a trip a few miles down the road, you might save yourself anywhere from £100s to £1000s in the process if you do your homework beforehand.
While demand and supply may be your first barrier to buying your next car, prices can also fluctuate depending on what type of car is being sold. Take a look at our examples below to see for yourself:
Three-year-old Supermini, such as Mini Cooper
- Newcastle upon Tyne average cost £12,490
- London average cost £10,995
Three-year-old Honda CR-V 4×4
- South East average £19,942
- London average £15,995
While you might be pulling your hair out trying to find the best deals around, according to Tim Naylor – British Car Auctions – cheaper areas are known in the trade as “honeypot locations.” Instead of relying on what is available in the locale, car dealers will “travel to get the cars they need or bid via the internet.” So what looks like a bargain in Glasgow may have been purchased in Edinburgh or Nottingham!
Private sellers have fluctuating prices too
According to the Sunday Times, private sellers also advertise different prices depending on where they are in the country. A study carried out by Adzuna analysed data from over 600,000 used cars in 100 locations. The results? A shocking view of the used-car landscape.
One of the most startling findings was that Nottingham is “where the average price is £5,180 — 34% below the average used-car price for Britain, currently £7,847.” Go slightly further north to Hull, and the average used car price is £5,396, quickly followed by Birmingham, where you can expect to pay an average of £5,617.
But where there are cheaper areas, the more expensive ones have to emerge, and leading the charge is Cambridge with an average used-car price of £15,533 (98% higher than the national average.) Winchester quickly follows with an average of £15,297 and Chichester at £13,334.
Not unlike car dealers and sellers looking to snap up a bargain, there is equally nothing stopping you from travelling further afield if you are prepared to make the journey. According to Adzuna’s co-founder Andrew Hunter, “it’s clear from the data that there is a supply and demand imbalance around the country […] not because of the condition of the vehicle but simply because there aren’t enough buyers in the market, forcing sellers to reduce the price. While used-car marketplaces such as the southeast remain buoyant, bargain hotspots are emerging around the country where there simply isn’t enough demand.”
However, you can help tip the scales by seeking out more affordable vehicles if you are willing to take the leap and go the distance.
UK’s most popular used vehicles
Whether you’re in the market for a Ford Focus, a BMW 3 Series, or a Ford Mondeo, a recent study by CAP examining over 700,000 pieces of data revealed significant differences in pricing up and down the country.
While Wales proved to be the cheapest place to buy a BMW 3 Series at £14,096, you can expect to pay out £15,799 for a vehicle with a similar mileage in the East Midlands.
Below, we have detailed some of the results based on 2012/2013 plates, with their average mileage and average price:
|Northern Ireland||22,000 miles||£7,547|
|North West||21,000 miles||£7,949|
|North East||23,000 miles||£8,006|
|East Midlands||22,000 miles||£8,192|
|West Midlands||21,000 miles||£8,197|
|South West||23,000 miles||£8,265|
|Greater London||21,000 miles||£8,354|
|South East||21,000 miles||£8,425|
|East of England||21,000 miles||£8,663|
BMW 3 Series
|East Midlands||55,000 miles||£15,799|
|Northern Ireland||49,000 miles||£15,900|
|South East||44,000 miles||£16,545|
|South West||44,000 miles||£16,945|
|West Midlands||44,000 miles||£17,031|
|North West||40,000 miles||£17,356|
|Greater London||37,000 miles||£17,949|
|East of England||34,000 miles||£18,388|
|North East||28,000 miles||£18,794|
|North East||72,000 miles||£9,013|
|South West||49,000 miles||£10,876|
|North West||36,000 miles||£11,006|
|Greater London||30,000 miles||£11,449|
|East Midlands||58,000 miles||£11,460|
|East of England||34,000 miles||£11,716|
|West Midlands||39,000 miles||£11,848|
|South East||35,000 miles||£12,523|
|Northern Ireland||51,000 miles||£12,984|
|North East||22,000 miles||£6,316|
|Northern Ireland||25,000 miles||£6,432|
|North West||24,000 miles||£6,612|
|West Midlands||26,000 miles||£6,654|
|East of England||24,000 miles||£6,744|
|South West||28,000 miles||£6,844|
|Greater London||23,000 miles||£6,903|
|East Midlands||22,000 miles||£6,909|
|South East||23,000 miles||£7,355|
|Northern Ireland||29,000 miles||£10,136|
|West Midlands||23,000 miles||£11,598|
|North East||24,000 miles||£11,680|
|North West||24,000 miles||£11,791|
|East Midlands||35,000 miles||£11,799|
|South West||31,000 miles||£11,803|
|East of England||25,000 miles||£12,152|
|Greater London||21,000 miles||£12,454|
|South East||20,000 miles||£12,825|
Economic and geographical factors
While pricing can change considerably from one county to the next, economic and geographical factors play a part too. Transport links are especially critical, and often people will choose not to travel too far from their area where road communications are poor. As a result, “it creates a closed market and sometimes keeps prices up high”, according to Matt Tumbridge, editor of UsedCarExpert.co.uk.
Londoners, for example, will often stay within the limits of the M25 and can often bag a bargain just up the road despite living in a wealthier area. More often than not, people will take the bigger financial hit of £250 to £500 depending on the model to avoid travelling further afield.
Then you need to consider the rise of online sellers, lenders, and search engines available. No longer do you have to spend hours searching for your next car in the classifieds; instead, your next motor could be only a few clicks away. What’s more, with the right reputable lender at your fingertips (like us!), you could be driving away in your dream car the same day.
Bagging yourself a bargain car shouldn’t be limited by what’s available to you locally. Check out all the best online deals to see where your next motor can be found! What will you drive away in next?
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