Ask anyone in yacht sales about the current brokerage market and they will tell you we are living in unprecedented times. Demand for boats, new and pre-owned, has not wavered since April 2020 when the need to recreate outdoors suddenly became very important. In the U.S. alone, the number of total boats sold across all categories increased by 11% from 2019 to 2021, with the value of those boats skyrocketing by 77%.
While the average number of yachts for sale on the MLS has increased in the last 90 days, buyers are still finding it difficult to find that perfect boat at the right price. This is where a professional yacht broker can really assist with finding inventory on or off the market, while also helping you make an informed, educated decision.
We have talked before about this being a seller's market and a good time to sell your boat for a higher price than normal. Many owners are experiencing multiple offers at asking price, or above, on their boat for sale within days of it being listed online. If you don't have a need to be a boat owner in the next 12 to 24 months, now is probably the best time ever to sell. The problem sellers are having is what to do next after a quick sale. That's where the advice of a professional yacht broker can pay dividends.
**Note: Fill out the 'What's My Yacht Worth?' form to receive a market evaluation on your vessel.
In addition to inventory being low, other factors are also influencing the market. Hiring a knowledgeable, professional yacht broker has never been more important when purchasing or selling a boat today.
New Yacht Production Sees Delays
"Nothing is easy these days," says Juan Morillo, a superyacht broker with United Yacht Sales. With multiple clients looking to buy multi-million dollar yachts, Juan has had to stay diligent in regards to the production schedules of the main global shipyards. "I've had to keep my finger on the pulse of many of the shipyards," he continued. With new boat inventory largely sold out globally, buyers are now fighting for boats currently still in production or build slots a year or more out.
"I have a client that is looking to purchase either a new Riva Yachts Folgore or a new Mangusta 104 Rev," said Juan. "They are both over a year away from being delivered, and for someone interested in being on the water now, we have had to be flexible. I also just took another client to the Monaco Yacht Show with a budget between $60 million and $80 million and looking to purchase a superyacht over 200 feet. We went to several shipyards and most of them were fully booked for at least a year before being able to even start production."
"In the end, we put a 2021 62-meter yacht under contract, but even this situation has been challenging and has required two trips to Turkey, two to Italy, France and Monaco."
Juan also recently sold a Majesty Yachts 100 to a billionaire from Canada. "Even this deal came with challenges, but this is what we are here for - to help our clients through challenging negotiations and situations." While the boat was put under contract back in July, the current owner wanted to use it for the summer. Juan and his client made an agreement with the owner that he could continue to use it for several months. After the Cannes Show, it was re-surveyed, sent to the shipyard for maintenance, and the deal was finally closed in late October. "My client was interested in a 130' to 150' yacht and would have purchased it had one been available that met his criteria."
While every situation comes with its own unique circumstances, having an expert broker in your corner alleviates stress, gives you more options, and ultimately helps you come to the best decision for your needs.
New Yacht Prices Changing From Order To Delivery, Shipping Delays & Increases
A recent experience at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show by one United Yacht Sales broker (not wishing to be named due to relationships with the factories) perfectly highlights some of the volatility in today's market. After several conversations with his client about their requirements and budget, the decision was made to visit the display of a new boat builder in the 50-to-60 motor yacht range.
"If you are a new boat buyer looking to order a boat that isn't already built and shipped, expect to have a moving price tag," he said. "It was our experience at the show, which was also echoed by several other brokers, that many boat builders are unable to settle on a final price due to fluctuations in the cost of materials, as well as shipping costs. In the quote for a 60-foot yacht from a well-known builder, it stated that the cost could increase by as much as 25% from contracting the build slot, to the time the boat is delivered."
According to the Boats Group Market Index, boat values in the 46 to 55' category increased 84% from 2019 to 2021, while boats in the 56' to 79' foot range increased 114%.
The volatility in new boat prices, combined with new and brokerage inventory being lower nationwide, is keeping pre-owned prices strong for the foreseeable future. With buyers wanting to be on the water now, this is an obvious plus for anyone looking to sell. However, with many more boats sold in the last 24 months than normal, there is an expectation that a flood of pre-owned boats will inevitably begin to hit the market. At that point, this seller's market may shift to one that is more even keel. Is now the right time for you to sell?
Parts Are Hard To Get, Helping to Strengthen Seller's Market
"There's no question that boat parts have been tough to get," says Christopher Cooke, Certified Professional Yacht Broker (CPYB) and owner of Spencer Christopher Yacht Management Company. "Some of it is lack of supply, but there are a lot of parts just stuck on container ships waiting to get here. Everyone in the service side of the yachting industry is overbooked and with greater demand comes a rise in cost."
So what does the lack of parts and increase in service costs mean for boat buyers and sellers? "I tell my clients right off the bat we need to exercise patience in this market. This is where hiring the right yacht broker is worth its weight in gold. Prices are going to continue to remain strong on pre-owned boats because many new boats are being delayed due to delays in parts. A good yacht broker can find you a boat to buy that isn't even available on the MLS."
Despite the challenges for buyers, Christopher brought it all into perspective rather quickly. "I've sold over a billion dollars' worth of a product that no one needs," he said. "No one needs a yacht. Ask any accountant whether purchasing a boat is a good fiscal decision. Boat ownership isn't about making money off of your purchase, it's about improving the quality of your free time. There's no better way to spend your discretionary income than being on the water. You worked for it, now it's time to enjoy it."
Well said, Christopher.
With over 200 yacht brokers worldwide, United Yacht Sales has the largest network of boat buyers and sellers in the world. This gives us an unprecedented ability to find you the right boat to purchase that may or may not be on the market. It also helps us sell many of our brokerage listings before the boat ever even hits the MLS. We invite you to experience the difference a professional United Yacht Sales broker can provide where our focus is on you, not trying to sell new boat inventory on our floorplan or answering to a board of directors. We are a service company for yacht brokers and that commitment to our team is undeniably felt by every customer that does business with us. Call our main office today at 1-772-463-3131 to get started.
Other Yacht Sales Articles Of Interest:
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