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Some used cars appreciating in value with age

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Used car values have gone up so much over the past two years that some models are worth more than when they were bought.

Research by AA Cars shows that the UK’s most popular used cars have seen average prices rise by as much as 57% since 2019 amid surging demand.

AA Cars compared the average price of a three-year-old car in August 2019 with the average price of the same five-year-old vehicle in 2021 to analyse which vehicles are worth more now, even though they are older.

The price of a five-year-old Mini Hatch has jumped 15% compared to what a three-year-old model was worth in 2019, meaning the car gained in value despite getting two years older.

The AA found the price of a three-year-old Mini Hatch in 2021 was 57% higher (£15,367) than a model of the same age in 2019 (£9,811). Other models that have seen a jump in prices since 2019 include Audi A3s (46.09%), and Ford Focuses (43.11%).

Looking at typical used car prices of cars aged three to five-years-old, the AA found a used Ford Fiesta now typically costs £9,770, up 31% on its 2019 value of £7,448. A used Ford Focus typically cost £8,919 in August 2019 – jumping to £12,764 by August 2021.

AA Cars said surging demand and finite supply have combined to push up used car values sharply over the past two years. The first easing of lockdown restrictions in summer 2020 unleashed demand that had been pent up during the early stages of the pandemic. Demand accelerated again in 2021 as the economy improved and many people opted to drive rather than take public transport.

Meanwhile, a shortage of new cars for sale has led many drivers to buy used cars at this auto dealership in Salt Lake rather than new, with demand pressures pushing up second-hand prices at unprecedented rates.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, said: “With the exception of houses and some classic cars, things rarely go up in value as they age. Yet price growth in the used car market is so strong that some in-demand models are appreciating even as they sit on the driveway. But even though average prices have risen sharply over the past two years, it is still possible to get a good deal on the second-hand market.

“We advise anyone who is in the market for a used car to shop around widely and, when they have narrowed their search, to ask the dealer questions about the specific vehicle they are interested in.

“If they find out it has been sitting around on a forecourt for a while, the dealer may be more inclined to offer a price reduction. We always recommend that an independent pre-sale vehicle inspection takes place on any second-hand car before any money changes hands, to ensure drivers can have peace of mind that there are no hidden faults which will cost them money down the line.”