Back in Feb/March of 2008 we were buyers looking at cats between 36' and 43' in the $200-$300 range. We spent about 45 days living in different hotels every night chasing boats mostly in the Florida
area, but as far off as St Martin
, Dominican Republic
and even New York
. The boats representing true value were selling quickly. Very quickly! A boat hit the market and only full price offers had a chance to tie up the boat for inspection
. In some cases this wasn't even good enough as sellers were holding multiple offers and boats were getting bid up and ultimately selling for more than asking. You know the story...basically, the same situation as the housing market during the boom.
Flash forward to late-July 2009. We just bought another boat a Chris White Atlantic 42 a boat far outside my price range in 2008. A price so good that I jumped on the deal before selling my current
boat as I wanted to ensure I wouldn't lose the chance on such a special boat. So, I have first hand knowledge that the market is much softer than about a year ago. But, I also still believe that you must act quickly to get the really good deals. And now as a two boat owner I can tell you based on my observations trying to sell that the market is pretty slow even for really nice boats at what would have been giveaway prices a year and a half ago.
Almost everyone took a hit on net worth over the past few years AND it's harder to get financing
now then in the past. I just had a deal blow due to financing
and over very few real dollars. Banks are much tougher... as they should have been all along.
Yes, there are still "Real" buyers out there, but now it a buyers market, many boats are for sale due to distressed finances and less discretionary household dollars. It's basic supply and demand. More boats and less buyers = lower prices.
The good news is cats should weather
the financial storm better as they represent a segment of the market that is gaining in popularity, especially for those ready to retire and go sailing. Wives tend to like catamarans better than monos as they are easier to live on. Longer term you see lots of guys end up solo on their mono-hull boats as the wives (who rarely were the driving force for a boat in the first place) find living in a cramped dungeon too foreign and want to go home to the grand children
. With a cat you can have lots of guest and live up in the daylight. It's more like a floating condo and easier for the wife to assimilate to the lifestyle. This is a big deal for those who don't want to single
hand. But, I diverge.
In Summary yes, prices are lower and you have choices in a "buyers market". My advice is to avoid the ex-charter boats in favor of a properly maintained, operated and upgraded privately owned boat. In this market you get more boat for your money and perhaps a privately owned boat at what would have been ex-charter boat prices a year ago.