Personalised number plates go up in value over time

Personalised number plates always go up in value over time...
...don't they?

As you will probably have spotted, theplatemarket.com offers free valuations for personalised number plates. Literally 100's of number plates are valued each day. Occasionally, we get a query about the valuations we send out, asking for clarification or insight into how we've arrived at the valuation. And we're always happy to do that.

One such query this week has inspired this blog.

We valued 2 personalised number plates (which were very similar) for a client. Both prefix style number plates with the digit number 1. For the sake of keeping the details anonymous, let's say it was registration numbers C1 UUU and N1 UUU.

We valued one registration number at £900, the other at £800. Although the number plates are very similar, the C prefix attracted a higher valuation because it's an earlier prefix. Our client questioned the valuation, advising us that she had owned the earlier prefix for over 8 years, and the later prefix for just a couple of years. And was challenging the number plate valuations on the basis that she had owned one registration number much longer than the other. A reasonable question - one that often applies to so many other "investment" based spending decisions. Unfortunately, it doesn't necessarily work that way for personalised number plates.

So here's an insight into some of what counts when deciding how much a number plate is worth.
The value of a number plate doesn't necessarily increase over time. It's more about what's happening in the number plate market right now.

One of the factors is the popularity of the letters that sit alongside the prefix on the number plate. Some initials are more common than others... for instance, there are far more people with initials PJM than (let's say) FRW. That means there's more demand for PJM, and less of them available for sale... pushing up the value of the PJM number plates that are offered up for sale. There's less demand for FRW, and the market is currently flooded with prefix number plates for the initials FRW. Great if your initials are FRW - plenty of choice and a relatively low cost. Not so good if you later decide to sell the personalised number plate as it will take some time to sell. And won't go up much (if at all) in value.

In this particular instance, the initials that accompanied the prefix were not a common set of initials. There are around 90 single-digit prefix registration numbers with the same letters available for sale right now. And hundreds with 2+ digits - so plenty of choice for a buyer. Which means, if you're selling, there's a lot of competition. Low demand, lots of choice. Consequently, the number plate will not increase much in value... regardless of how long you've owned it.

Number plate investment
is by no means straightforward.

There are, of course, other factors which we haven't covere. Like number plate styles, or word and name number plates.

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