The best place to buy a used car: The cheapest UK cities for second-hand vehicles revealed

New research finds up to £3,500 difference for the same car between different cities

Belfast has been named the UK’s cheapest city for used cars as drivers face unprecedented increases in second-hand prices.

Average prices in the Northern Irish city were found to be more than £1,500 (nearly 8%) lower than the UK average, in sharp contrast to some cities where buyers pay up to £2,000 more.

Used car prices have rocketed over the past two years, with Auto Trader reporting that average second-hand values are now £4,400 more than they were in early 2020.

Huge pressure on the new car market caused by a parts shortage has combined with a renewed interest in private transport post-lockdown to drive up demand for used vehicles. As a result, the price of second-hand cars has gone up around the country, adding to the growing financial pressures caused by rising fuel, tax and insurance costs.

Used car prices have risen all over the countryUsed car prices have risen all over the country
Used car prices have risen all over the country

However, new research has revealed that huge variations between cities exist, with some drivers paying thousands more than others for the same car.

The study looked at the 10 most popular used cars of 2021 and compared prices for models up to three years old and with fewer than 20,000 miles on the clock.

It found that across the 63 largest cities in the UK, the average price was £19,747 but that some drivers were paying 10% more while others, such as those in Belfast were saving almost 8%.

While Belfast was the cheapest location, with an average price of £18,212, Bradford was close behind with its average £18,396 asking price 6.8% lower than the average.

(Map: John Brown 4x4)(Map: John Brown 4x4)
(Map: John Brown 4x4)

Buyers in Huddersfield also saved more than £1,000 compared with the national and Yorkshire proved to be the region with the best used car prices overall, with York, Leeds and Barnsley all also among the 10 locations with the best prices.

In stark contrast, Basildon was found to have the most expensive used cars, with the average £21,828 asking price 10.5% or £2,081 higher than the national average.

Brighton is the second most expensive place to buy a used car, with the average second-hand price £1,081 (5.5%) more, while Chatham is third, with an average extra cost of £1,012.

In fact, six of the 10 most expensive cities were in England’s south-east, with Luton, Southend and Cambridge proving to be between £560 and £932 more expensive than the average.

(Map: John Brown 4x4)(Map: John Brown 4x4)
(Map: John Brown 4x4)

Greg Hendry, marketing manager at John Brown 4x4 which carried out the study, said: “When purchasing a second-hand car, factors that affect the price of the car include location. Many individuals may not want to travel to another town or city as it’s often seen as a risk - but the chance to save thousands on the same car might make you reconsider how far you’re willing to travel for your next motor.”

Drivers from the most expensive cities willing to travel could save themselves a four-figure sum, even after paying to make the trip. However, Mr Hendry advises taking steps to make sure you’ve found the right car before committing to travel hundreds of miles to buy it.

He said: “You should always ask the seller to provide you with a detailed video specifying all of the car’s features, inside and out. A reputable seller will be more than happy to provide you with this, along with answering any other questions you may have.”

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