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Used car residual values continue to slide, reports Glass’s

Rates of used car depreciation continued to increase in the final three months of 2004, according to Glass’s Used Car Market Index.

The average three-year-old vehicle (’51-plate with 36,000 miles) is now worth £6,910 according to the report, £200 less than for the same age of car at this point last year.

Glass’s says the usual seasonal uplift in residual values during January will be less pronounced than during the same month in 2004, and that values for most ages and types of used car will continue to weaken at a modestly increased rate during much of the rest of the year.

Looking at residual values over the last quarter (October-December 2004), the Index reports that the typical used car would have lost £233 in its trade value over the three month period, representing a fall of 3.2%.

Glass’s says that this reflects a modest weakening of values, which can be attributed to falls in consumer demand and increases in used car availability.

Glass’s believes that with general inflation under control, current interest rates have reached their peak.

It says that once consumers become accustomed to this, buying confidence will return, although at a level lower than during 2004. The 2005 market will not, however, benefit from property equity release to the same extent, with house price inflation likely to remain at a more subdued level.

The net result should be a continued softening of used car values across most sectors and ages. The full report is free. Email: quoting reference ‘Index 4’ in the subject line.

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