UK used car prices 2023: relief for drivers as values 'virtually unchanged' since 2022, says AA Cars
Secondhand values stabilising after two years of rapid increases but demand keeps prices growing for some popular models
Used car prices have finally begun to settle after two years of volatility, according to a leading sales platform.
Figures from AA Cars for the first three months of 2023 suggest that secondhand values for the most popular models are virtually unchanged from the same period in 2022, representing relief for buyers struggling with soaring costs.
Since the Covid pandemic used prices have soared - up as much as 32% between 2021 and 2022, according to some sellers - but the latest quarterly data from AA Cars shows a minor 0.3% change in 2023 compared with 2022 for the 20 most popular models. That follows a similar 0.2% increase in the last three months of last year.
That means the average used car price on the platform was £16,818 in January to March of this year, compared with £16,760 over the same period the previous year. The low price growth of the UK’s most popular cars is in stark contrast to many other household goods, with inflation at 10.4% in the year to February.
While AA Cars saw a flattening of prices, Auto Trader reported a small increase in March. Adverts across its platform saw asking prices increase by 2% compared with March 2022 - still a major reduction from the 32% year-on-year change it recorded in April 2022.
Among the 20 most popular models on AA Cars some saw used values drop by almost 10% while others rose significantly, resulting in the almost static performance overall. The Ford Fiesta - for years the UK’s best selling new car - remained the most searched for model on the site but saw asking prices fall by 2.9% compared with 2022, to an average of £11,222.
The larger Ford Focus saw an even more dramatic drop in values, falling 9.7% to an average of £12,846 in the first quarter of 2023. In contrast, prices of the Ford Transit rose 8.5% to £21,932 and the Audi A3 recorded the fastest price growth out of the top 20, rising by 11.3% to £21,581.
Mark Oakley, director of AA Cars, commented: “The slow price growth seen across the UK’s most popular cars makes this a good time for drivers to begin their search for a new vehicle. Even enduring favourites like the Ford Fiesta and Focus have both seen prices fall over the last year.
“Drivers are clearly trying to get maximum value for their money at the moment, with city cars like the Fiat 500 proving particularly attractive thanks to their low running costs.
“Cars with lower insurance premiums, such as the Toyota Yaris, are also rising in popularity and price.
“The wide variety of price changes across the secondhand car market underscores the importance of doing your research online and shopping around when buying a used car. Once you’ve identified the models you like, you may find better deals for the same vehicle just a few miles down the road in neighbouring towns or cities.”