For many car owners, a private number plate is something to buy to make your motor more personal and unique. But what about the investment potential it offers; can you expect to see the value of the plate appreciate if you hold onto it for long enough?
The internet has made it easy to find bespoke plates that suit your needs. You can search sites like Absolute Reg for private number plates and check prices on the fly. So will the plate you pick net you a return if you decide to sell it further down the line?
You have probably seen a few splashy headlines in the press over the years whenever a very valuable private number plate goes on sale. The most expensive sold at auction in recent years went for over half a million pounds and there are a lot of other plates that fetch hundreds of thousands when they go under the hammer or change hands in private deals.
One thing which ties together the most valuable plates is their brevity. The costliest options will typically consist of under four letters and numbers, with plates that pack just two tending to feature the highest asking prices.
This means that technically, at the upper end of the private number plate market, values do increase over time. But as with any market, there are different levels to consider and not every plate will command such stratospheric amounts of cash.
For a private number plate to increase in value, it has to have meaning to a multitude of potential buyers. That means a plate which is symbolic to something in your life could appear to anyone else as nothing more than a seemingly random string of numbers and letters.
Because of this, if you want to buy a plate that you could sell on later to make a profit, you need to think carefully and weigh up your options.
The plates which tend to have the greatest resale value are those which feature common names or initials. Those which are trickier to get rid of will be lumbered with more obscure letters; very few people have Xs and Qs in their names, for example, so there will be less demand for plates of this kind.
Plates which cleverly integrate allowable phrases are also a solid choice for investment, but as with the more popular names and initials you will find that buying them in the first place will come with a steeper price tag.
Whenever a new registration period commences, people rush to snap up new personalised number plate options, spending millions in minutes. This means that you might also want to consider timing your purchase to make sure that you can get in ahead of the crowd and snap up a plate that has a chance of increasing in value.
Unless you are eager to become involved in the private number plate market, you can always just make your decision about which plate to pick according to personal preference. Plenty of people buy a plate that they then transfer from car to car, not because it is valuable, but because it lets them express themselves.