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Old 18-05-2016, 15:41   #1
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Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

We're planning on taking a couple of years off work, sailing from the UK to Australia, then selling up and heading home.

We may only get partway, we may stay out longer, but if we stick to plan I'd like to get an idea of price differences between Europe and Australia. We're in the UK but could realistically buy anywhere in Europe, though will need to pay VAT.

Thoughts appreciated.
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Old 18-05-2016, 17:39   #2
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

Last year I helped two AUS couples buy and get moving with boats (from the Med).

They liked the prices and found Med boats inexpensive by AUS standards. They bought for their private use, not for sale.

However, this is all related to CCY markets and so one cannot say what the situation will be when you get there. Mind as a foreigner you will pay AUS taxes on sale and UK taxes on sales income (if such taxes exist, or will exist, in the UK).

Cheers,
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Old 18-05-2016, 17:59   #3
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by terah View Post
We're planning on taking a couple of years off work, sailing from the UK to Australia, then selling up and heading home.

We may only get partway, we may stay out longer, but if we stick to plan I'd like to get an idea of price differences between Europe and Australia. We're in the UK but could realistically buy anywhere in Europe, though will need to pay VAT.

Thoughts appreciated.
Why would you need to pay the VAT? Complete the transaction on the high seas, flag the boat in a country of convenience (Cayman Islands or Malaysia) and pay no Vat. You will as has already been posted have to pay GST in Australia as soon as you list the boat there.

Prices are higher in Oz than in North America for sure but the way the Australian dollar is falling these days may result in lower realized return when you sell and convert back to Pounds or Euro. Some are predicting that the Australian dollar will fall to $0.50US this year. It is already down to $0.70 as of today.
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Old 18-05-2016, 23:23   #4
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

You will be able to sell the boat in Australia because sailing is part of the DNA here, but you may need to sell it at a substantial loss.

The aussie dollar has always been notoriously hard to predict making any attempt to import a boat for profit very risky. The range in last few years is 0.68 to 1.08 US. On a $100k boat that's a potential difference of 40% in value.

In most cases you will also need to pay GST.

You might be able to improve your chances of selling your boat in Australia by choosing a design popular in Australia.

For example, in my observation, heavy duty cruisers have seemed to fetch lower prices in Australia than the US. Australians seem to favour faster popular contemporary designs (and cats).

Prices in Sydney seem to be higher than elsewhere.
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Old 19-05-2016, 09:28   #5
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

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Originally Posted by undercutter View Post
Why would you need to pay the VAT? Complete the transaction on the high seas, flag the boat in a country of convenience (Cayman Islands or Malaysia) and pay no Vat. You will as has already been posted have to pay GST in Australia as soon as you list the boat there.

Prices are higher in Oz than in North America for sure but the way the Australian dollar is falling these days may result in lower realized return when you sell and convert back to Pounds or Euro. Some are predicting that the Australian dollar will fall to $0.50US this year. It is already down to $0.70 as of today.
Need to find a clueless seller for that kind of transaction. Seller still has to pay tax in order to make sale legal. Problem for them, not you. Your problem will be proving ownership. Without the tax trail, you may encounter problem convincing the government you really own the boat.

Plus the original owner can claim you stole the boat since the transaction has no official paper trail. Seen that happen before in France. New owners were arrested in Baltimore on piracy charges. So might be better to just pay the tax and make everything legal. Paper sales contracts are flimsy proof unless accompanied by tax receipt.
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Old 19-05-2016, 09:45   #6
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

I am an Australian living in the UK and have basically done the reverse to you.

Some observations..

Exchange rate is a big factor and difficult to control. Over the last ten years the rate has ranged from about $2.90 to $1.50 to the pound and even over short periods of time 20% shifts are not uncommon. It does tend to make the project a bit of a lottery but if the rate has shifted too radically it may on a high value boat pay to ship back to Europe. The flip side is that you could end up with a good little earner.

On most 'popular' models of boats such as the classic french plastic jobs you should be able to get a fairly accurate second hand price in Oz and brokerage charges by contacting a few of the brokers. A good place to start is...

Boats for Sale Australia | Boat Ads & Boat Buying | Boats Online

Duty and GST in Australia will include the cost of sailing / or freight to get to Australia. see https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Ente/...orting-a-yacht

Customs charges for termite inspections etc will also need to be researched.

Check... but I believe that if you buy a non vat paid boat in Europe you have one month to get it out of the EU which may be useful.

We know a number of people who have taken boats from North America to Australia and all have had lots of fun and at least covered their costs. We spent 4 years cruising USA and found quality boats were much cheaper than Europe; this may be an option for you and would also reduce the 'freight' cost used in the duty and GST calculation.

Good luck.

Ross
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Old 19-05-2016, 09:49   #7
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

Just one question please: are prices higher in NZ than in Australia?
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Old 19-05-2016, 11:04   #8
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

Hello terah,
We are an Australian couple presently on board our catamaran in Sicily. We also have an Australian registered and built, blue water cruising monohull for sale, here in Sicily. She is an Adams 45, a well known and popular design in Australia. We sailed her from Brisbane to the Med in 2004/5. As all owners wishing to sell would say, she is an excellent boat! We are offering her for sale at a good price. Can't sail 2 boats at once!If you would like to know more, please email me at john.midge@bigpond.com. I will happily provide you with all detail, full specs and photos as well as a link to a video featuring the boat. If you wish you can phone or text me on +61 418872990.
If you intend taking it out of Europe, I don't think you would need to pay VAT in Europe depending on the timing and where the transaction is deemed to have occurred. Nor would you pay duty or GST in Australia. No GST would be payable if you sold her in Australia, as she is second hand. If you are interested I will get up-to-date info regarding duties and taxes.
Cheers,
John Ward
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Old 19-05-2016, 11:51   #9
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

I've done this 3 times from the US. It's much harder to make money now but still possible to get your money back........ maybe. Best to call a broker and ask what might sell. I suggest you call or send a message to the office at David Bray Yachts in Sydney. Good luck. The Adams one might work, shame he got cut up in the Philippines.
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Old 19-05-2016, 14:14   #10
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
Just one question please: are prices higher in NZ than in Australia?
Difficult to answer, and very much depends on the boat. Smaller market obviously. There's the same 5% duty but our GST is 15% (Oz has only 10%), plus our dollar is lower (tends to maintain parity with Oz dollar though).

Tell you something for free though. Basically the arse dropped out of the yacht market in NZ with the Global Financial Crisis and far less people want the hassles of owning a boat. Mooring charges here have just kept on going up, up and up, and so many boats have lost 55-50% of their value.

But like everything depends on the buyer and the sellor and the boat in question.

But if you go ahead with your plan then some basics. Much more difficult to sell with a petrol engine, or 110 volts. Also look carefully for parts/service availability. Some gorgeous one off French design in aluminium attracts only a limited market. Ensure that the motor is a brand and model supported where you plan to sell. Same for other systems; refrigeration, toilets, electronics, pumps etc.

Refer to the yachting regulations for the various standards a boat must meet. In both countries the relevant national Yachting Assn provide 'Safety Regulations' in the form of Cat 0-5 that boats (both yachts and power boats) need to meet (depending on use). Don't make the mistake some have, of assuming that just because a boat is relatively new, it will meet NZ or Oz standards.

The other factor is, and I'm not sure how you can factor this in, but I'll refer to it as 'local taste'. What I mean is the sorts of boats that appeal to the locals.

Oh and whilst it may look like NZ and Oz are close, the Tasman Sea is very difficult and unfriendly, so sailing a boat between the two countries not so easy, and definitely not for the faint hearted. Know where you want to sell the boat and sail her there.

Quite a number of NZ/Oz people do what's being proposed. Typically buy an ex charter in Eastern Med and sail her home. Some make a few dollars, some don't, but they have a great trip and a life experience they'll always cherish.
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Old 19-05-2016, 15:17   #11
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

Thanks all.

We're not leaving until 2018, which means it would be 2020 by the time we got to Australia, so appreciate there's no way of predicting exchange rates, but getting a sense of how things are now will help the decisions if and when we get there.

The idea of being taxed once at purchase and again it sale is pretty unappealing, but not sure if we'll be able to avoid that.

@barnakiel Don't think there would be any UK tax - being taxed 3 times really would suck.

@undercutter Our plan just now is to buy late next year, get to know the boat for while before leaving, then spend the first few months away in the Mediterranean - I think we'll struggle to avoid VAT.

@svseachange We won't know out budget until we're just about to buy, but we are looking at cats, which hopefully would be popular in Australia.

@yachtgemini Thanks for the links, will try and work out some comparisons. Also, hadn't thought about the customs costs...

@calico The Adams looks nice, but we're not ready to buy yet and looking mostly at cats just now.

@grantmc All depends on boat budget we end up with, but hopefully we'll be looking at 'popular' boats, < 10 years, and reasonably standard.

If we lose a chunk of cash doing this then so be it, we'll consider it worth it. That said, the less we throw away the sooner we can do it again.

It may be we get there and we decide to take the extra year coming home - though even then we 'may' be charged VAT again if the boat has been out of the EU for over 3 years.

Looking at the VAT rules you must pay VAT if you own a boat in the EU and are an EU Resident - am sure it can't be this easy but are you still an EU resident if you are off cruising?
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Old 19-05-2016, 16:59   #12
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

I was talking to a Broker here in Auz. 2 days ago. He tells me that under the BIA rules Auz Brokers are not allowed to list an imported boat for sale in support of the Auz. industry, ( bit like the Auz car industry "oh its an import")
But the points he made was that it is very difficult to get insurance on any imported boat unless it has been converted to Auz standards (gac/electric) not just a step down inverter. All wiring etc. Just check with insurers!!
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Old 19-05-2016, 18:07   #13
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

Keep your receipts is the best bit of advice I can think of. I recently surveyed a yacht from America and they had no receipts for the rigging upgrade and everything else that had supposedly been done before they crossed the pacific. It really affected the price of the yacht, there was two different types of swages used on the rig so the whole new thing seemed a bit suspect.
Stick with a Beneteau or Jeanneau and you should have no problem selling her here. A lot of other designs seem to get a lower price no matter how good there design is.
I have surveyed plenty of imported yachts and the return on their investment means very little by the time they get to Australia. What price to do you put on a good adventure?

Cheers
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Old 20-05-2016, 03:33   #14
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

We bought a Lagoon 440 when it arrived from a very similar journey. Its previous owners said they lost a little money after their 2 year trip but the 3 other boats they arrived with came close to breakeven or made a very modest profit (after paying import duties and gst etc).

They had a few suggestions...

- make it look shabby on arrival to lower the assessed value when taxes are assessed on them
- start advertising well before you get here .... but delete your ad before you notify Customs of your planned arrival as they may note the price you are advertising
- offer to train the new owner who is likely to be upgrading and wanting tuition
- make sure it is a popular and well known model that is in likely demand .... avoid obscure brands
- if you blog about your trip (and things breaking), then expect the buyer to have read about it. Be upfront with repairs done as no one expects there to be no incidents during such a journey.

Good luck.
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Old 20-05-2016, 04:56   #15
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Re: Buying in Europe and selling in Australia

I've read somewhere recently that Import duty may not apply when importing a boat into Australia when the boat is from a country that Australia has a Free trade agreement with eg. US.
I don't know whether that only applies to Australian citizens.
As far as GST is concerned this tax is levied on the buying price plus the cost of freighting the boat into Australia.
If you're planning on sailing into Oz then some portion of the cruising costs are taxed. The mind boggles over how that might be calculated.
Some latitude may be allowed on the buying price GST levied depending on the time taken between buying the boat and then importing it into Australia ie. if it took a few years to get here the boats value would have decreased.
Boat prices in Australia are coming down.
For a Beneteau say 40' Australian asking prices are virtually double (Australian dollars) the Med or the Caribbean and the Australian boat will be 10 years older.
To muddy the waters though I doubt that many Australian sellers are getting their asking prices and I've read on this forum that many buyers first offers may only be 60% of the asking price. Plus many of the boats in the Med and Caribbean are probably ex-charter.
I've also noticed that over the last 6 months or so there seem to be a few more boats being listed for considerably less than the norm. Who knows why?
Could be due to more motivated sellers, the market softening or sales lost after survey reports.
As many have said on this forum the best way to save money on a boat is don't buy one.


Tony
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