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photo of It's Yacht Selling Season. What Should You Expect?

It's Yacht Selling Season. What Should You Expect?

By Robert Bowman | Posted On May 18, 2023
Updated On Dec 12, 2023

The end of Spring and beginning of Summer always seems to be a busy time for yacht brokers in the industry. If you're in the northern states, the weather is beginning to warm and everyone who didn't travel south for the winter is itching to get back out in the sun. The "boating gene" kicks in and you're now more motivated to get into a boat, or maybe into a bigger one. Regardless of where you live, summertime is all about fishing, cruising, anchoring up, and getting salty!

So what should you expect to find right now when buying a yacht? Or selling one? As consumer confidence fluctuates and interest rates continue to climb, the yacht market has certainly been affected, but by how much? What does that mean for how long your boat will stay on the market or its final sales price?

"The yacht market has been exceptionally strong for some and difficult for others depending upon what you're in the market to buy," says Jeff Palmer, President of United Yacht Sales. "There's no question that overall used yachts are staying on the market now a little longer, we're seeing more price reductions than we were a year ago, and some buyers that were relying on financing are now finding it tough to get done with interest rates. Insurance has also played a factor, particularly in Florida where Hurricane Ian caused a lot of damage and some people aren't able to get a policy."

"But we are still seeing decent sales," he continued. "We just closed on a 2018 Ocean Alexander 85' this week along with three nice Viking Yachts, a Hatteras 45X, a Grand Banks 55, a 75' Hatteras Motor Yacht, and a lot of others to mention."

To put this into perspective, we looked to the sold boat data for April and May, in the U.S., for boats over 40-feet and $500,000 in asking price.

  • April 2023 was down 49% in yachts sold compared to April 2022 across the industry.
  • May 2023 sales are up slightly, but lower in sold price and higher in days on market.
  • The average amount of days on the market is up nearly 10% in May
  • The average sold price in April 2023 dropped 5% compared to 2022, but dropped again 16% in May 2023

(Below: "RISING TIDE III" is a 2018 Ocean Alexander 85 that went under contract with United Yacht Sales in less than 30 days.)

ocean alexander 85 motor yacht sold



If you're buying a yacht this season, you will have the option of more inventory. For example, United Yacht Sales has twice as many yachts over 50-feet right now, than we did at the beginning of June last year. You may be able to negotiate a better deal than you did a year ago, but don't wait if you find a decent yacht that fits your criteria. Late model, popular boats that have a good service history and are priced right are still going under contract quickly.

"The best advice I can offer to my clients that are interested in purchasing a yacht right now is to be patient, but also be ready to pull the trigger at a moment's notice," says Scott White, Managing Yacht Broker for the UYS New Jersey Division. "Prices are falling every week so something new may come into their price range. It's a good time to hold out for what you want, but also you need to be ready."



"The biggest hurdle to getting a yacht sold in this market is the owner's perception that their yacht is worth more than it is," continued Jeff. "In 2021 and 2022, boat sales were going crazy, prices were up, and we saw a lot of boats going under contract the day it went on the market. It's not that way anymore. It's still a decent market to sell your boat, but it's far more similar to how things were in 2018 and 2019."

Jeff has a few pointers for those looking to sell:

  1. Interview multiple brokers. Ask them for a full plan and presentation on how they are going to sell your boat.
  2. If you are serious about selling your yacht in 90 days or less, listen to your yacht broker about what to price it at and when to reduce.
  3. Compile and organize all service records since you've owned the boat.
  4. Do a pre-market survey and fix any major items on it before it goes up for sale.
  5. Move your boat, if possible, to a popular area that's easy to get to. If your boat is difficult to get to, it will take longer to sell.
  6. Good professional photography and video are essential. Plan to make your boat available to your broker's photographer.

(Below: The Hatteras 75 recently sold by United Yacht Sales. Good photography and video are a must!)

United Yacht Sales has the world's largest network of boat buyers and sellers in the industry, thanks to our team of over 250 yacht brokers in 104 different locations. Whether buying a luxury boat or selling one, we have the right expert on staff to assist you in navigating the brokerage market for your type of yacht. If you're looking at selling a boat, there is no quicker way to get activity than listing it with United. Our entire team is immediately notified every time a listing agreement is made with United Yacht Sales and many boats are sold before they ever even make it online. Our support team is among the best in the industry at marketing your yacht. 100% of our marketing budget goes towards advertising our clients' listings, a claim not many other firms can make. To get started listing your yacht, fill out our online form What's My Yacht Worth?


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