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Old 10-06-2017, 11:43   #1
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Small market analysis of "big catamarans" market

I've been watching very closely big (55ft and bigger) catamarans market for over 1,5 years. Also occasionally I'm checking smaller catamarans market (45-55ft) and 54ft+ monohulls market.
The difference between these categories is huge.
First of all, catamarans market is still simply non-existent comparing to monohulls market. If you like monohull, you can find almost perfect match according to your needs, liking and budget. Any price range, any sail configuration, any desired equipment and features etc. Thousands and thousands of boats to choose from. It simply will blow your mind, especially after watching catamarans market for some time.

43-50ft catamarans. Very popular category. What quickly sells - relatively cheap ($150K-$250K or $250K-$350K for late models) production catamarans like Lagoons, Leopard in reasonable shape and some quality catamarans manufactured in very small quantities (like St.Francis 50). I'm not watching this category closely, but I think that other newer (2000 and newer) one-off 43-50ft catamarans should also sell good if priced low (which is not always the case).
51-54ft catamarans. Again, I'm not watching this category closely, but from what I've seen, this category market is closer to 55ft+ market.

Now lets talk about 55ft+ catamarans. Ex-charter, luxury production boats, one-offs, custom boats, aluminum catamarans - there are all kinds of boats in this category. BUT. First - there are very few boats available altogether (like less than 150 worldwide (!) in 55ft-65ft range)
And second - it's very safe to say that market in this category is dead, not-existent. There are probably two reasons for that, from both sides of market. Sellers are trying to keep prices high, not willing to return to real world and realize that years coming by, their boats getting older, and they will have to take loss sooner or later. And from other side, there are not many private buyers for these boats, people afraid of high marina fees, high maintenance cost etc. Charter companies? I'm sure that they prefer newer boats, and new catamarans been built every year in bigger and bigger quantities, flooding the market.
Since catamarans market is relatively young, there's not much of a choice when it comes to different features. You're lucky if you're happy with old school design. At least, you will have few models to choose from (again, I'm talking about newer boats, 2001+), some of them might be even reasonably priced. If you like (let say) fly bridge, you stuck with few boats worldwide, none of them are cheap.
Now, when I'm saying the market in this category is non-existent, I mean that most boats I've seen 1,5 years ago, still on the market now. It'll be safe to say 90% of them still on the market. When I've pulled sale results, it turned out that most boats were 2-3 years on the market before they were sold. This only makes sense if boat still chartered. Private boat would eat quite few $$ out of seller's pocket - maintenance, marina fees etc, still getting older and older.

Regarding discount. This is question many people are asking. I've pulled sale results for few 56-62ft production catamarans manufactured 2010-2015 and for couple older ones. Interesting, even with all above, final discount often is not very big, like 10-15%, give or take. Still, it's 100-150K discount on 1M boat. Like beautiful 2013 Leopard 58 which was listed at $1,025M and sold at $850K (after almost two years on the market). But there are also weird cases, like boat was listed at 750K and was sold for $475K! Now that's some nice discount!


Also, there is small but very funny category of very old boats, where for 20 years old (or even older!) catamarans people are asking unbelievable amount of money (700K, 800K even 1M!). And if you're thinking that these are completely refitted boats with $1M spent on refit last year (like some monohulls out there), you're completely wrong! Some people asking such money for original or partially updated boats with outdated electronics, minimum equipment etc. And these not called Swan or Jongert either in case you're wondering. Well, I'm not sure what these sellers are thinking about. It's not uncommon to see some of these boats sitting on the market for many years, some - like 7 years and more!
Most likely, they finally will be reasonably priced on estate sale (you know what I mean).


Bottom line - if you like living space, not afraid of big catamarans - there are basically two hard choices. First and best - if you can afford, buy new and don't even think about used supercats market. Then you can choose features you like, configuration you like, talk about discount with manufacturer (and as I understand, sometimes discount can be amazing). Or second choice - take your time, watch the market, you will have to watch SAME boats on the market from day to day, from month to month, even from year to year! Occasionally, something might pop up on the market, somewhat meeting your criteria and reasonably priced, or one of the sellers might finally drop the price to the point where you will be willing to START negotiation. Honestly - it's really hard to imagine, that seller who had listed boat at 750K, will be willing let it go for 475K. He simply had scared most buyers away. Most likely he would get more money if he would list it at $550K to begin with - would get more offers.
And then again, if you're thinking to buy such expensive boat (used) then you probably want certain features and equipment on it (just because you have money for that, right?). And with such scarce choice you most likely will have to add this equipment after the purchase, along with all necessary repairs, refit, maintenance.
Also prepare to bring your purchase from other side of the globe, with so few boats on the market you can't be picky and only shop locally.

Situation will change when all these production catamarans, made in the last 5-8 years will get older and more affordable. They already start flooding the market, just prices still are high. After all, these boats are packed with more and more technology, they will become maintenance nightmare for charter companies and regular people. So they should become sweet opportunity for handyman who has knowledge and don't mind to having full set of tools onboard and do repairs and maintenance himself.
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Old 10-06-2017, 18:25   #2
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Re: Small market analysis of "big catamarans" market

I'd like to give you a little feedback on your buying process. I've only bought three used boats, and so don't know a lot about it.

I feel there is value in starting a conversation with a broker, even if the boat is over priced. I think the broker often knows it, and they are waiting just as much as you are for the sellers unrealistic expectations to wear down to something reasonable.

So.... Let them know you are serious about the boat, and would make an offer if it was listed at an at all reasonable price. Give concrete reasons to justify what you think the boat is worth, reasons that the broker can forward to the seller.

I've done that, and in every case, a couple months or year later the broker has written to me that the seller is ready to make a deal. The gist is that they contacted me, and I got boats that I really liked. I think someone who was watching passively on Yachtworld would have seen these boats sit on the market at unreasonable prices for over a year, then sell for about half their list price, with no real chance to buy them once the seller decided to get serious.
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Old 11-06-2017, 01:08   #3
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Re: Small market analysis of "big catamarans" market

You probably right. But I'd like to see adequate price before I start spending serious time and money on it. As I said, these boats are very scarce, so one that I like might be on other side of the world. Now, boat is listed at 750K, I would be interested in it if price would be 350-400K. Than I would fly there to check in person and make any further decisions from there. May be something wrong in my head but my mind tells me that broker and/or seller will get really upset if I offer 50% of asking price before even looking at the boat, not knowing real condition of it at all, and they will decide I'm not serious at all. After all, many boats in that category been sold with little discount at the end so low balling on them would be plain stupid.
So while you're probably right and someone who brave enough to throw random offers here and there might get good deal at the end, for many others it's still tough.

PS. Regarding conversation with broker. I have some experience with that, and by far not positive one. They slow in response, sometimes located far away from boat, not willing to send extra pictures or if they are, these pictures/videos will be such quality that it's nearly impossible to recognize what's on the screen, let alone details. Or they simply play stupid failing to explain damage which is already on the pictures in THEIR listing. And all of that - for boats listed at 750K-1M! I was simply shocked to see such behavior.
Couple times I've managed to find contact info and contacted seller directly. And guess what? Sellers didn't seem to be very helpful either, like suspecting some scam or something - "why you not contacting the broker?"
When I'm planning to spend few hundreds K$ on something, I expect as much information and pictures to be provided as I'd ask. No pictures, no information, price unrealistic - no interest from me then.
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