Used car hot spots: where to find the cheapest second-hand cars, plus the best all-round deals

The price of used cars has been climbing for almost two years now.

Rising demand and limited supply has seen the average cost of a second-hand car jump £3,400 this year, making it hard for many buyers to afford even a used model.

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However, the picture varies across the country, with prices in some towns and cities far lower than others, according to figures from AA Cars.

The used car platform has identified Manchester as the city with the cheapest used cars but named Harlow, in Essex as the place to secure the best deal thanks to the average age, price and mileage of cars on offer.

Based on data from 90 towns and cities, Manchester was the cheapest place to buy a second-hand car, with an average model costing £9,397.

However, the average used car on sale in the city was 7.1 years old and had 56,929 miles, placing it in the bottom three for age and mileage and sending it plummeting down the AA rankings.

Harlow’s title as the best place to secure a used car deal was based on a combination of factors judged to offer buyers the best all-round package.

The average used car in Harlow is 3.3 years old, placing it third in the rankings for age, while the town sits eighth for mileage, with an average of 24,392. An average asking price of £15,494 put it only slightly above the average.

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Letchworth in Hertfordshire had the newest second-hand selection overall, at an average of 2.9 years, and the second-lowest mileage at 20,501. However a higher price of £16,748 saw it lose out on the top spot.

Behind it, Exeter, Romford and Bury St Edmunds offered a similar balance between price, age and mileage.

Guilford was found to be home to the used cars with the lowest average mileage - at 20,178, just ahead of Letworth and Watford.

James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars commented: “It’s striking how much regional variation there is, with Harlow coming out on top for its combination of newer vehicles and low mileage. However, the variation in average prices in the top 20, starting from £12,833, shows the versatility of the second-hand market, and how there is a car for every price range.

“This has been especially important of late, with supply issues holding back the new car market and leaving would-be buyers facing long waits for certain new vehicles. Many are turning to the second-hand market instead, and this spike in demand is steadily pushing up prices in many areas.

“Thankfully for anyone searching for a used car, it is easier than ever to look further afield, thanks to online portals. Looking just a few miles outside your hometown or city could help you find a car that is better value for money.”

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