Millions of Brits are feeling financially better off – and are ready to splash their spare cash on a new set of wheels.

Almost a quarter of British adults are considering buying a car in the next six months, new data has revealed. 

Sainsbury’s Bank’s car buying index shows that 24% of UK adults are thinking about making such a purchase before September. 

Motorists must be feeling flush, as 30% of those in the market for a new car said they are feeling more confident about their finances and 24% said they had more disposable income.

 Another 24% said a change in family circumstances would allow them to buy a car and 12% are desperate to drive a new 2016 plate.

 10% said it was because petrol and diesel prices had dipped below £1 a litre. 

Having ready cash, whether from a loan or elsewhere, can help secure the best price when negotiating for a car

Simon Ranson, head of banking at Sainsbury’s Bank
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According to Sainsbury’s Bank, the average amount each individual anticipates spending on a car is £12,034.

That’s a 17% increase on 12 months ago, when the average was £10,290. 

The car buying index has shown a steady increase in the number of people considering buying new cars over the past two years.

And figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveal that new car sales in Britain reached an all-time high in 2015.

Sainsbury’s Bank has also looked at the way in which consumers are choosing to pay for their car purchases. 

10% said the low cost of petrol and diesel was the reason they were considering buying a new car. Image by spflaum/Shutterstock.com

Almost half  (49%) of car buyers are intending to use a loan or some form of finance – an increase of seven percentage points on 12 months ago.

 Analysis of the bank’s own data shows the average loan  taken out to buy a car in 2015 was £9,180. 

Simon Ranson, head of banking at Sainsbury’s Bank, said: “2015 was a great year for car sales driven by a competitive car market, special deals and in particular record low loan rates. 

“We would highlight that having ready cash, whether from a loan or elsewhere, can help secure the best price when negotiating for a car from anywhere – be it online, a local dealer or directly from the owner.”

 The SMMT recently revealed that 83,395 new cars were registered in February, making it the biggest February for new car sales since 2004. 

The society’s CEO Mike Hawes said: “February is typically one of the quietest months of the year, ahead of March’s plate change, but this positive performance is encouraging and puts the sector in a good position for the coming 12 months.”