BUYING OLDER BOATS & MARKET TIMING
I have the two vol set, "Practical Boat Buying" and find it very valuable. Most of the reviews contain price graphs which show an interesting trend. Almost all older boats dropped in price until 1992, then there was a sharp increase. My inference (also has a researcher by trade) is that this corresponded to the increase in the market leading to many people''s feeling of greater wealth.
Based on my personal search for my next boat and some observations in the market, I do not think we can predict the future from the past.
I think that the majority of boat buyers will not touch 20 yo boats. Thus, someone buying an 18 yo boat will be shocked at what they have to sell it for in 3-4 yrs. Search engines on all the boat listing sites, such as Yachtworld, make it very easy to sort out the exact age of a boat you want to search for. My bet is that most boat buyers today put the cut-off at 1980 or 1982. I know I do.
And I do that because I have spent many weekends looking at 1980 or older vintage boats only to find that they are high priced and would require quite of bit more cash to put in the shape I would like. You are then left with a very expensive old boat that may perhaps have no next buyer. That is not to say that there are not truly GREAT older classics... but they are the exception... and I would be willing to venture that if people''s taste in boats changes, classics might no longer hold their value.
Case in point: a 1981 Tartan 37, centerboard. Tartan''s are very good boats and the 37 has an excellent reputation. Most on the market now are listed in the low $80''s ($20-30k more than similar sized boats of the same vintage). They were selling between 45-60k, just a few yrs ago. They are of course a very good boat ... BUT.. they have smaller interiors by todays standards and they are centerboards. I predict that these boats will plummet in value in 3 yrs because 1) they will be past the 20 yr mark, 2) their interiors will become unacceptable to many buyers and 3) fewer buyers will want centerboards. Same for the Bristol 35.5. I am not knocking the boat, just making a prediction based on this discussion.