Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Demand for Older Cars is Highest in these U.S. Cities

Vintage Plymouth Valiant
Photo: Fiat Chrysler media website.
According to a study by LendingTree, the American city with boasting rights for being the place where buyers look for the oldest used cars is Portland, Oregon.

LendingTree reached this conclusion by analyzing car loan offers for borrowers in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas (based on population) to find the average age of used cars financed, as well as the most popular used car makes.

Nationally, the average age of a used car people sought to finance was six years old. But some parts of the country prefer older used cars more than others:

  • Portland, Oregon. Portlanders sought the oldest cars in the U.S. Vehicles at least 7.45 years on average were what people sought to finance.
  • Salt Lake City ranked second among cities where people sought older used cars. Car buyers in Salt Lake City sought loans for cars aged a bit over 7 years.
  • Seattle, which is less than a three-hour drive away from Portland, ranked third nationally for seeking to buy the oldest cars, with an average car age of just under 7 years.
  • Midwest. The heartland of the U.S. largely sought older used cars, with cities from Denver to Milwaukee financing cars 6.34 years or older.
  • East Coast outliers. Two cities in Virginia were the only cities on the East Coast that sought out older used cars. Virginia Beach ranked fourth and the commonwealth’s capital, Richmond, ranked fifth with people in both cities seeking cars aged 6.78 and 6.52 years old, respectively.

On the flip side, the following areas show a preference for newer used cars:

  • Florida drivers really prefer newer used models. Miami car buyers wanted used cars under the 5-year-old mark, purchasing used cars with an average age of 4.76 years. Orlando, Jacksonville and Tampa, meanwhile, followed suit, with the average age not exceeding 5.86 years.
  • Texas has three of the 10 largest cities in the U.S., and all of them, including the capital Austin, have an appetite for younger vehicles, according to our study. Houston ranked as the second in the country for drivers seeking younger used cars, with an average age of 5.08 years.
  • New Orleans ranked third among metros seeking newer used vehicles. The average age of the desired used car in New Orleans is 5.33 years.
  • East Coast. New York City is also a large market for newer used cars. People sought loans for cars with an average age of 5.40 years, placing the Big Apple fifth on our list. It sits in a chain of major cities that also like newer used cars from Washington D.C. to Boston, which ranked ninth and tenth respectively.

Chevy is the most popular make among people buying used vehicles

Chevrolet was by far the most popular brand for used cars overall. Out of the top 50 metros, it was the most popular brand in 31. Nissan was the second-most popular overall, being favored in 10 out of the 50 metros.

For cities that favor the oldest used cars, the most popular car brands were largely American. In 17 out of the top 25 cities seeking older used cars, Chevrolet retained its spot as the most sought-after brand. Ford, however, claimed the top spot in Portland, Ore., where people buy the oldest used cars in the nation. Only six out of the top 25 cities buying older used cars favored foreign brands, with Nissan claiming five and Toyota claiming one metro.

For cities that favor the newest used cars, foreign brands came more into play. Chevy still claimed over half of the cities, 14 out of the 25. Drivers in Miami, the city that favors the newest used cars, chose Chevy most often, as did Dallas and New Orleans, which ranked third and fourth respectively. Houston, which ranked second, and San Francisco at No. 8 choose Toyota. For the rest, five favored Nissan, three favored Honda and one favored Ford.

“It’s important to shop around to compare prices,” said Jenn Jones, autos writer at LendingTree. “Once you know your budget and decide on whether to buy a new or used car, check out online sites to sort through inventory by price, age, mileage, location and more.”

Jones continued, “You can shop around online for an auto loan before you know the exact car you want to get an idea of what’s available to you. Some banks offer pre-approval programs. If you already know the exact car you want, that’s even better. You can go into the dealership knowing you have a financing offer ready, and you can ask the dealership to try and beat the offer.”

Further details about the study, its methodology, and its findings are available on the LendingTree website.

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