The publisher of Glass’s Guide to Used Car Values, believes the price premiums being paid over equivalent used saloon models are falling markedly. In the case of the BMW 320d, the premium for a one-year-old estate model over the comparable saloon version stood at £1,275 in August 2006, but by this month that premium had fallen to £625, a drop of 51% or £650 year-on-year.
“A number of factors have caused the values of prestige estate models to weaken,” explains Richard Crosthwaite, prestige car editor at EurotaxGlass’s.
“Demand appears to have slowed, and the supply of used examples has improved steadily after several years of growing new estate car registrations on some models. Meanwhile, new arrivals – such as those from Jaguar and Saab – have improved choice for buyers.
The continued popularity of prestige-brand SUVs is also affecting the sales and residual values of estate models from the prestige marques,” he added.
Despite the pronounced drop in values, Crosthwaite says the market for these cars is not crashing. “Values are merely coming back from unsustainably high levels, reflecting prevailing levels of supply and demand and making them more accessible to greater numbers of used car buyers.
“Looking ahead, where the price premium over a comparable saloon model stands at over £1,000, the easing back of values will continue at a modest level, but should then stabilise. On those examples where the premium is under £1,000, such as is currently the case for the BMW 3 Series, the premium could actually increase as the market responds to the attractive pricing,” said Crosthwaite.