The results aren't in yet for how many yachts were sold in 2019, but Peter Schmidt is already looking ahead at what to expect in 2020. "Based on all of the factors I'm seeing, I truly believe the first half of 2020 is going to be strong for boat owners looking to sell," said Peter, Founder and President of United Yacht Sales. "All of the ingredients are there for boats to sell quickly and for a strong price. The stock market continues to reach an all-time high almost every week, finance rates are stable and should continue to remain low, and there is still a shortage of late-model, quality pre-owned yachts on the market. I think everyone is also gearing up for a tense election in late 2020 and what better way to relax and escape than boating? All of these factors lead me to believe that if you want to sell your yacht, the first and second quarters are going to be an excellent time to do it."
United Yacht Sales had a stellar 2018 with growth at over 40% in brokerage sales over the previous year. "I expect 2019 overall sales to be strong," continued Peter. "I don't expect 40% growth again, but we will maintain a very positive pace for boat sales and should grow overall sales. We're finding that despite the turmoil in Washington, our customers are generally unphased. Boaters love to be on the water, it's their passion and their escape from the daily stress of life. As long as the economy remains positive, everyone is going to continue boating!"
The Federal Reserve Board has kept interest rates low, prompting boat owners to upgrade or even refinance their existing loan. Noelle Norvell, President of the Luxury Financial Group, sees a positive climate for transacting a yacht in the first part of the year. "The maritime financing market today allows yacht buyers to keep their money working for them in other business and personal investments," says Noelle. "Currently, fixed rates for qualified clients are lower than 4% and amortized over 20 years. We are also seeing a steady stream of refinances as well." Noelle goes on to say that she believes rates will continue to remain stable through the first quarter.
"I think it's true for almost any economic climate that boats sell quickly when they have low hours, options that people want, have been professionally maintained, and are marketed appropriately," says United broker Greg Graham. Greg recently closed on two exceptional yachts including a 2011 F&S 67 and a 2018 Viking 48 Sport Tower. "Many of my sportfish clients are busy with sailfish and wahoo seasons right now, but during the downtime they are looking at what's happening on the market, looking at the new builds coming out, and thinking about their plans. That's the thing about boat owners, even though it's not a financially appreciating asset, it's not about that. It's about doing something they love, with people they love, away from the daily grind. People are going to continue boating no matter what. The strong stock market just makes it a little easier to upgrade."
Seen below: Greg and friends fishing in San Salvador for Wahoo in Mid-November.
"If you look at the number of pre-owned yacht listings currently on the market that are over $500,000, there is about 10%-12%* more listings available now than there was in July of this year," said Peter. "That's not a lot compared to where the market was 8-10 years ago. Inventory levels are improving, United is seeing many more higher priced listings, but overall there is still more demand than there is supply of 'sellable' boats."
Most industry experts agree that the economy, the low finance rates, and the potential for strong holiday spending will drive the stock market even higher in early 2020 leading to strong marine sales. Whether you are looking to purchase your first yacht or sell you're existing one, United has the largest network in the industry of buyers and sellers, 25 offices, and over 165 yacht brokers on our team. We invite you to contact one of our yacht brokers in your area or give our main headquarters a call at (772) 463-3131 to talk about your boating interests and plans.
"Owning a yacht is a good thing," says Peter. One of the joys of life. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. A yacht allows you to make memories you never dreamed possible." Read more about Peter's thoughts on boating after 40+ years in the business: https://www.unitedyacht.com/Why-Own-A-Boat-Or-Yacht
*Brokerage Industry level data provided by BoatWizard.