Investing in Personalised Number Plates
Don’t sound so surprised – investing in personalised number plates is actually a viable investment strategy. It could potentially offer a really high risk to reward ratio. But the potential of a huge profit should never be the only consideration when making an investment – you have to know the market.
Number plates market
The popularity of private plates shows no sign of abating. In 2017, DVLA recorded 374,968 private regs which netted the UK government over $110 million in revenue – a 12% year on year increase. This is not an aberration – the number of private registrations has doubled over the past five years. Since DVLA has announced that the current plate number format will remain in place until 2050, there is a finite number of attractive alphanumeric combinations available. As such, demand will continue to remain strong for the next three decades. In fact, demand could spiral as the number of vehicle owners gradually increases. In other words, there is a captive market to be exploited here.
Private Plate Investment Strategy
Like any other form of investment, a strategy is needed to ensure that you get maximum returns for your buck and minimise potential losses.
Obviously, if you decide to buy number plates that are deeply specific to you, not only will you develop a strong emotional connection to them (making it harder to sell), they will also be less attractive to potential buyers. As such, focus on generic terms. Alphanumeric combinations involving names, locations, events and occupations are the best options. Secondary options include words, acronyms and common pronouns.
Don’t worry if you don’t get an immediate bite. Like a good bottle of wine, the value of a good number plate will grow with each passing year.
In addition, keep an eye out for emerging trends. For instance, purchasing plate numbers that closely spell out Marvel characters a decade ago could net huge returns today. Like stock market traders, you should also scrutinise registration records at DVLA’s auction site. For example, the sale of KR15 HNA for £233,000 in May 2015 indicates that there is a market for Hindu deities. So head over to Wikipedia, familiarise yourself with other major Hindu deities, and start looking for close combinations.
Whatever plates you are planning to buy, try to get a dateless registration version first – they tend to generate the highest sales figures.
It goes without saying that this is a long-term investment, and you should never spend more than you can afford. Moreover, this article should not be construed as a financial or investment advice – it’s just a helpful guide to help you get started, should you choose to.
This is such a new investment strategy, there is very little data available about other number plate traders. However, there is one very publicised success story involving Mr. Afzal Kahn, the owner of ‘F1’, a 108-year-old registration mark he purchased for £440,625, in 2008. Five years later, in 2013, he was offered £6 million for the plate; he declined. In mid-2018, he has finally listed F1 for sale at an eye-watering price of £14.7 million.
But that’s not his only investment. Mr. Kahn owns dozens other registration marks, including I CEO (priced at £450,000), AM 600 (£80,000) and NO 4 (priced on agreement).
So, are you ready to take the leap?