It is "common knowledge" that it is now a buyer's market for new and used boats. It is often repeated here, as well as the popular press.
Does anybody have any data to back it up - plots of final sale prices, days on the market etc. Trying to get my hands around how much I might want to offer if I come across the right boat. Like anyone I don't want to pay too much now, especially if selling prices are in a free fall - better to wait (unless it is the perfect boat).
As a single data point, A Freedom 28 for sale in RI was appraised at $27 to $30K in May of 2008 as part of a survey the source being the BUC value book. I did an appraisal via BUC online today, value listed as $23.7 to $26.3K for average condition. NADA $22.5 to $25.3K, BoatUS $22.3K.
Seller is asking $29.5K. I think they are a bit out of line, while appearing to be in fine shape, she needs new sails and a new dodger and doesn't have any upgrades to speak of.
Maybe it's the business education talking, but I don't think there's any such thing as a buyer's market or seller's market when talking across the board -- just a market.
Of course, you could make the case (quite convincingly) that we are in more of a buyer's market than we were 5 years ago... but that's stating the obvious. 2 years ago? I'd say we're in more of a sellers market than we were 2 years ago. Of course, when making a purchasing decision, because you're buying/selling the boat today versus buying /selling the boat in the future.
So the real question is -- where do you see the market for sailboats going? Have we put the global economic downtown behind us with good days (and disposable income) ahead? Is sailing going to increase or decrease in popularity / desirability over the near future? What impact will the retiring baby boomers have? Are they going to spend their hard earned money on boats, or going to sell the ones they have because they no longer have an income to support keeping the boat?
Furthermore, you could ask the question of whether your particular market (boat type / size / location / age / price point) is more or less buyer friendly
than the global market for sailboats.
My 2 cents? I wouldn't buy a new boat unless I was paying close to used boat prices. In my opinion there hasn't been a ton of innovation in regards to quality of new boats versus those built 3-5 years ago. I think that like other transportation devices, there is a strong tendency to not want "somebody else's worn down ___" and as such the used boat market is not strong enough to bring prices up to the point where the price difference between new versus used equals the benefits of new vs used. That being said, that could simply be my personal preferences, along with not valuing the benefits of a brand new boat to a great enough extent.