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Old 04-08-2016, 10:54   #1
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Current market conditions

Looking for input and opinions of current market conditions from a macro level - is it a buyers market/sellers market or just flat? Focus or input directly on Great Lakes areas would be ideal.

I searched around and can't find much but a few lines about it being a buyers market with boat values declining 20-25% in the past two years but noting really substantive.

Does the US to Canadian exchange rate make purchasing Canadian vessels in the current market (assuming US buyer)?

Many thanks in advance, just trying to understand the market some so I know where I'm starting from for the buying side of things.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:01   #2
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Re: Current market conditions

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Originally Posted by marty9876 View Post
Looking for input and opinions of current market conditions from a macro level - is it a buyers market/sellers market or just flat? Focus or input directly on Great Lakes areas would be ideal.

I searched around and can't find much but a few lines about it being a buyers market with boat values declining 20-25% in the past two years but noting really substantive.

Does the US to Canadian exchange rate make purchasing Canadian vessels in the current market (assuming US buyer)?

Many thanks in advance, just trying to understand the market some so I know where I'm starting from for the buying side of things.
===

Trying to time the boat market is even more difficult than timing the stock market. Your primary objective should be finding the right boat at the right price.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:07   #3
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Re: Current market conditions

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===

Trying to time the boat market is even more difficult than timing the stock market. Your primary objective should be finding the right boat at the right price.
Intention is not to time the market only to know from where in the broadest sense my negotiating starting point is. Hot market, boats going for over asking on all cash deals the day they list vs. listing sitting on the market for twice as long as 'typical' (to put into housing market terms for simplicity/comparison).
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:11   #4
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Re: Current market conditions

Getting an honest answer to this question is often hard because everyone with a good feeling on the Pulse of the Marine Economy has a vested interest in saying it's great...sunny...happy days are here again.

But here's what I see with my own eyes as someone who sells product to Cruisers, Cruisers in Planning and to a few OEM boat builders and from talking to others (Brokers, Boat Manufacturers, Other gear pushers).

Things are SLOW and Slowing down.
So yes it is a buyers market both in the used boat and new boat worlds.
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Old 04-08-2016, 11:43   #5
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Re: Current market conditions

I agree with Rich that the market has slowed. I don't know about 25% lower prices in just 2 years but there are fewer buyers right now at least in the US.

How long a boat stays on the market has a lot of complicating factors making it hard to draw conclusions from macro statistics. Unlike the housing market, a significant number of boats are "on the market" even though the owner doesn't really have to sell. It is often said "All boats are for sale at the right price." Some people just figure they aren't using the boat a lot so they list it at the same price they paid 5 years ago and don't get any offers. Or they get low-ball offers because the listing price is so high but they don't accept them. Some boats are listed because the cost to repair the boat is more than it's worth. Some boats are listed just to make the significant other "happy". What value is there in knowing how long such boats remain on the market?

Boats that are listed by owners who really want to sell through knowledgeable brokers that know where to find buyers don't stay on the market long in my experience. And the prices for comparable boats fitting this scenario tend to sell in a fairly tight range perhaps varying by few percent from year to year. How to figure out which boats these are from the thousands of listings on YachtWorld or BoatTrader is terribly hard.

Best advice I can give is to talk to a really good broker. They know the boats that have sold recently and which are still for sale and where to find buyers. A really good broker will help a buyer who is genuinely ready to purchase find what they want. Give them a detailed description of your priorities. The really good brokers will tell you if your priorities are senseless or not. So don't be offended by a broker who doesn't tell you what you want to hear. Talk to more than one and then decide which broker is right for you.
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Old 04-08-2016, 12:12   #6
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Re: Current market conditions

It's always a buyers market.

But that has nothing to do with assuming boats values are declining (my boat model is still selling for about what I paid 5 1/2 years ago)
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Old 04-08-2016, 13:33   #7
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Re: Current market conditions

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It's always a buyers market.

But that has nothing to do with assuming boats values are declining (my boat model is still selling for about what I paid 5 1/2 years ago)
Don't kid yourself.
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Old 04-08-2016, 13:42   #8
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Re: Current market conditions

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Don't kid yourself.
Don't understand your detailed well considered reply to my post.

Buyers always determine pricing for anything,that's ................... anything.
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Old 04-08-2016, 13:50   #9
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Re: Current market conditions

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Don't kid yourself.
But that's what part of being a Boat Owner is...

We tell ourselves that we will get back all the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars we have put into our beloved floating "Investments" when we go to sell the boat. Heck, you know how it goes: "Steve just sold his POS that wasn't decked out nearly as well as my boat for X, so I should easily be able to get X + Y for my baby".

No one truly knows the Market Value of their boat until they find a buyer willing to pay it. Sister ships, weeks ago, or even yesterday doesn't matter. What matters in setting real market value is what the Buyer is willing to pay, today in today's economy. So in those terms, you could easily say the Boat Biz for production boats really is always a Buyers Market.
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Old 04-08-2016, 13:58   #10
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Re: Current market conditions

It's been the buyer's market since, what, the 70s? And it's not just the economy, although it plays a big part. It's also the "instant gratification culture" which demands that a thrill seeking person (especially young person) tries gazillion of new things before the settle down on something they love/like enough to sink some serious $$ into. Not a great basis to start owning a boat. Especially a slow boat. The "economy" part prevents those thrill seekers from owning gas guzzling formula boats.

It's also the greed of marine industry in general which marks up its products like its customers' last names are Gates and Buffet. That practice sure kills the overall demand for boats, a classic case of killing the gold egg laying goose to take the last egg out.

Add to all this the stupidity of the Local, States' and Federal lawmakers who have never heard the saying - you tax what you want less of and don't tax that which you want more. Plus the enviro-Nazis and their overzealousness and you have a perfect storm destroying the boat market for the past 30-35 years. Someone on CF posted stats of new boat registrations/sales. That was an eye opener. Sailboats are down a whopping 80-90% compared to 20-25 years ago. And that's all you need to know about the market.
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Old 04-08-2016, 14:03   #11
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Re: Current market conditions

Amen Brother....
But never fear, I just saw a political ad and help is on the way....

"If you like your Boat, You can Keep your boat"

Sure it may be a lie...but who cares?
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Old 04-08-2016, 14:06   #12
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Re: Current market conditions

I think we can safely say the market is flat at the moment and is certainly a buyer's market. I have only seen a few short times in the 40+ years I've been into sailing, that it was a sellers market. In my limited experience selling the few boats I have had, I will say the buyers were of the type who just had to have a the boat. Months before the dot-com crash, I had a buyer who looked at my Douglas & McCloud Blackwatch 37 and just said ok...I'll take it. I don't know why but I even told him he should get a survey first. He bought it and 6 weeks later when he was laid-off, wanted to know if I would take the boat back. I was preparing to move to Hawaii and was in no position to do so.
Currently, I just bought a Whitehall pulling skiff for 1/3 what they normally go for. The previous owner just wanted it gone.
As far as the future...who can say what will happen. It's based on economy...and the 2 clowns running for Prez will dictate that.
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Old 04-08-2016, 16:27   #13
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Re: Current market conditions

In my great financial planning for the future, I am assuming zero residual value.
I hope to be able to beat that, but it seems boats sit a long time occasionally, I know what the PO paid on mine, and I paid about 30% less than he did, he had it I think less than two years and was asking what he paid.
Then on the other hand, I see more really big, expensive Yachts than I ever have, it seems they are doing well in sales.


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Old 04-08-2016, 16:35   #14
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Re: Current market conditions

A64Pilot...
You are right about the high end market...they can't build and sale those fast enough.
It's the lower end...Sub $150-200K boats that have a few years on them that were once viewed as "the perfect cruising boat" that have inventory piling up and prices coming down. But there is a bottom. We paid $35K for our Pearson 365 Ketch in 2006, sold it for $39K in 2010 and you can buy one now for the same price. But the buyers with money want Cats...Cats or trawlers...that's just the reality of the market today. The 36ft new production boat for cruising is a dying breed.

This reality has also been very good for my water maker business because my clients have a generators and to them the thought of conserving water is a non-starter, so with their big generator they buy the 40GPH water maker...heck...I've sold four 65 GPH water makers last month all do big cat owners who want water for their guests and themselves.
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Old 04-08-2016, 16:36   #15
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Re: Current market conditions

Rich nailed it in a lot of respects. It is a buyer's market and will continue and only get more so. Why?
Count the number of new buyers entering the arena.
What are their demographics? Or,more simply,where are the young persons entering the cruising/live aboard life?
Maybe I have not been lucky enough to see them in my corner of the world, but most of the cruisers I see are 60+ (nay, many were 60 when we left 15 years ago). Many (like us) are getting ready to finish a circumnav, or are migrating between home (USA/OZ/NZ) to SEA, or are on their semi-annual visit to their plastic, floating, Condo in a nice location. There is an eddy, and many are comfortable to be in it!

None of these are "bad" things, but just as the baby-boomers put a push on all other things economic, they (we) will be trying to sell their (our) boats. With more and more boats coming available, it will inevitably solidify it as a buyer's market. As an example, we have seen many of our cruising friends once having completed their experience, passing their "home afloat" along at fire sale prices. Many have made huge investments in rig, gear and other equipments, not to increase sales price, but it is part of the value they place in the total experience.

Lets just hope the new group wants to sail and experience all this lifestyle and world has to offer, and not settle for a virtual experience.

Cheers - Jim
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