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  #1  
Old 05-07-2008
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Used Sailboat Market

What is the general status of the used sailboat market in the U.S. right now? Is it a buyers or a sellers market?

We have all heard about the troubles in the U.S. housing market. And the predictions that the economy is heading into a recession. Does that translate into a weaker market for used boats? I tend to believe that it does, but I would like to hear some other opinions. Any brokers out there who want to weigh in?

Are there regional differences in the used boat market? Is the East coast a better deal than the west, or vice versa?

All opinions welcome.
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Old 05-07-2008
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If you look at a few boats on the East Coast and then look at the same on the West you will quickly see the east coast (especially southeast coast and gulf of mexico) have the lower prices. As I am in the market for a new boat now I beleive that the market has dropped with the recession. It is a buyers market for basically anything right now I think. Nothing is as bad as the housing market though.
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Old 05-07-2008
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I may not be the most knowledgeable person on the subject, but here is my 2 cents.

We have been looking at boats for the last 3 months and have found that the prices are not really going down much and the quality boats are still selling, while the less quality boats are remaining on the market longer, pretty standard stuff, I would expect. Talking to the Brokers, few admit the there is a buying slow down.

We have made a offer on a boat which was considerably less that the asking price but was in line with the NADA Guides, we are still waiting to hear back from the seller.

Pat
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Old 05-07-2008
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used market ?!

well as I'm reading your posts , perhaps a different view

West coast is much better than any other part of the country as I experience that difference every day .. beside that the upper scale of the market is strongest 200k and up .. meaning the well to do keep doing well , the 100k a year guy doing worse ..as expected

there is some false believe the East coast boats are less expensive ..well end of the day when you shipped, commisioned twice , paid for the accidentals ..you end up paying more... ALWAYS ...
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Old 05-07-2008
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Actually the disparateness between East and West coast prices is there. My Barberis is worth 10K less on the East Coast than it is here on the West Coast as I was advised by my surveyor. A majority of that (I believe) is that there is a friendlier coastal system on the East coast making it easier to transport / sail a vessel from other states - thus the buyer regions are much larger. Also there are many more marinas concentrated on the East coast per area than there are on the West Coast for the most part...
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Old 05-07-2008
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I don't know what price range you are looking in, but for early 90's production boats 32-36' <$80k, it seems owners realize its not the time to sell and there aren't that many nice boats on the market. The boats that seem to stay listed for a while are older with higher odds of age related issues, or boats that are overpriced. The higher quality 80's boats I've looked at such as Tartans 37's, Pretorians and Sabres also seem to be languishing on the market, so I suppose you could argue that sellers expectations are not yet in line with buyers.

A couple of months ago, I made an offer well below asking price, but what I considered fair, on a nice Catalina 36 and the sellers counter left a gap that I was not willing to bridge. He's since dropped his asking price and I've advised the broker I'll slightly increase my offer and still nothing, even though I'm willing to pay within 10-12% of his asking price, which in this market I think is all one could expect.

All in all, the market in my size/price range and area (Ches. Bay) seems pretty stagnant. I see the exact same boats, at the exact same prices every time I check YW. Never-the-less, it seems few sellers are ready to cut their losses at this point. IMHO, I think its wishful thinking that they will reap more by holding on to their boats. The odds are at least even that this downturn will be deeper and longer than a lot of folks think.

Honestly, my feelings about the economy have me very close to bagging the boat idea, at least for the foreseeable future. My wife and I both love being out on the water, but not if the expense weighs too heavily on our budget.
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Old 05-09-2008
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I believe it is a buyer's market in this unstable economy. If I could not get a GREAT deal on a boat I preferred, I would look elsewhere. There are more than enough boats to investigate. If I saw a boat that had to be transported, I would consider it if the survey proved it was worth those dollar$ asked. But, I would never give what the seller is asking through a broker. I only purchase from private sellers because it is easier to prove how over-priced the selective boat really is. Always have the sale contingent on a
favorable survey.

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Old 05-09-2008
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From what I have heard around the water fountain, good boats 30-40k and under are in demand and are selling. Between 50 and 200k, only the very good fully equipped boats are selling near their asking. Most of the others in that range are sitting. Above 200k, the demand is for new or near new boats.
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Old 05-10-2008
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bestfriend is pretty accurate from what I saw over the last year + shopping.
I think that many sellers are holding out. I saw boats for sale sitting on a cradle for 2 years listed at top dollar prices and in need of work. Something has to give. One negative is that finance rates just went back up.
In January I was seeing 6.5%. I got 5.99%. But it just recently bounced back up to around 6.5% or more. My lender told me he has seen many deals fall through becouse of financing. And lenders are tightening up their standards. They are using lower valuations on which to base their loans, so you have to put more money down to make up the difference in that equasion.

But there is a lot of overpriced junk out there and the good stuff either goes fast or sits at a high price.

One factor is the owner that decides that if they can't get top dollar for their existing boat then they won't bother trading up. They have the money to keep operating the existing boat but aren't willing to 'give away' the old boat for a new one. That puts a squeeze on new boats. A broker told me they are seeing 10% or less margin on new boats.

Lots of different dynamics at play here depending on location, time of year, price range, condition.
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Old 05-10-2008
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Buyers market for sure. Those that are waiting for a better price may find lower prices long before a turnaround. The result is the cost of maintaining slip and insurance, they have lost money.
pigslo
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