Join Date: May 2013
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Re: The Search Widens Before it Narrows
I think the window on dropping prices seems to be closing. By and large, the models that I have been tracking seem to be selling pretty steadily again at prices that have not dropped in a year or so. The brokers who I talk to frequently tell me that things have really picked up with the inventory of decent boats greatly diminished and even less desirable boats actually selling and so on. They had no problem telling me that things were really slow when things were really slow so I believe them. One told me that he had a bidding war on a boat that had been on the market for nearly two years at the same asking price and sold above its asking price.
It may be a buyers market in that boat asking prices are down perhaps 25% from a three four years ago, but it does not seem as easy to get a bargain as it was last year.
I spent an hour on the phone yesterday with a friend who is a broker for POPYachts, and he and I were discussing that very issue. He and several others have told me that the market is still very much a buyers market, and that though it is taking time, most sellers are coming down by more than 50% of their original pricing . I had actually called him on a boat that was listed on their site at $15,000.00 reduced from $75,600.00 and was going to purchase it. The vessel had sold, which if I had looked at the ad before calling him I would have been able to see that had happened, about three days before I called. Now I am not saying that is the going trend or that it is indicative of an ongoing trend, but most of the boats ranging from $25,000.00 to $75,000.00 in original listings seem to be going at about half of that at sale day. I talk to him and to several other brokers on a weekly basis and pretty much all are saying the same thing, with the exception that there are some vessels going above asking because the original asking was below value and more than one person was bidding on it.
I would not expect a trend in increasing prices on used sailboats anytime soon outside of a few models and a few localized areas. The economy has not improved, except in just a few areas, and neither has the housing market improved much. The recent improvement in the housing market was the first time in over five years that it has shown significant increase in new home sales, which is a leading indicator that the economy is on the mend. People will buy houses first and boats a few years later most of the time.
It is good to learn from your mistakes, but much better to learn from the mistakes of others...