“There have been 119 sales in the first half of this year,” says
Malcolm Maclean, industry observer and blogger for leading yachting title, Boat International.
“That’s down on last year by about 34% but well up on the previous two or three years. There are more price drops this year than last but the cumulative average is still around 12% of the original Asking Price which itself is averaging around EUR 9.7 million – up 6% on 2011.”
WHAT HAS BEEN SELLING?
Buying patterns have not changed much from last year. A massive 70% of yachts sold were between 24-40 metres (m) in length. 40-50m yachts accounted for 18% of sales and 10% were above 50m. In terms of age, 53% of yachts purchased this year have been between 4-15 years old (similar to last year) - the single biggest age range being 8-15 years old. 30% of yachts sold were less than 3-years old. The average age of yachts sold in the popular 24-40m range was 11. The Top 3 brands were Sunseeker, Westport and Benetti.
New and ‘not-so-new’ yachts are selling and there’s more good news for sellers as industry statistics compiled by Boat International and YPI indicate that despite two blips, sales activity has remained surprisingly consistent over the last three years.
“Aside from one notable peak in Q2 of last year and a trough in Q3 in 2010, there have not been many fluctuations in the number of sales,” explains YPI CEO, Bertrand Vogèle. “On average, 55 sales are recorded each quarter - this year is actually performing slightly better than average.”
MEGAYACHTS ARE BACK
Interestingly, whilst the averages remain unchanged, yachts purchased at the larger end of the scale are actually getting bigger. So far the largest recorded brokerage sale this year has been a 104m Blohm & Voss sold in June, whilst January saw an order placed for what, by all accounts, will be the largest ever sailing yacht at 147m.
“Big boats are back,” says YPI Director of Sales, Russell Crump, “if they ever went away indeed. For clients interested in yachts of 70m+ there is a lot less choice on the market so building new is often the only option. Some quality yards are offering excellent packages for potential buyers. Many clients who by now have not only recouped any losses from 2008 but gone on to accumulate considerable wealth are now benefiting from today’s market.”
The largest brokerage yacht brought to market recently has been the 70m YPI-listed TU MOANA, however in shipyards around the world there are around 13 projects over 100m in build. That includes a 180m Lürrsen (she will be the new ‘World’s largest privately-owned yacht’ when launched), the world’s largest sloop being built at Dubois and even Oceanco are working on a 105m sailing yacht.
“Big boats, and big sailing yachts in particular, are keeping yards busy,” says Russell. “And whilst this will only ever concern a finite number of people, we don’t see that changing any time soon.” (See Sailing Yachts article elsewhere in this eNewsletter)
This year has witnessed the first real signs of Asian activity coming through into the Superyacht industry.
“We recorded three deals with Asian clients and they have all been for new builds,” points out Malcolm. “One of which we know came as a result of the Hainan Show earlier this year.”
Head of YPI Asia, Olivier Besson, exhibited the much-talked about Kingship-built STAR at Hainan this year and he believesAsian clients are ready to buy now.
“We have three offices in China and Hong Kong and have been working with Asian clients for almost 10 years,” he says. “But now we are having real conversations about real yachts and real projects with very real timeframes. It’s very exciting to see a nation take to luxury yachting both in brokerage and charter.”
There is considerably less worldwide data for charter but Fiona Maureso, Head of YPI Charter confirms that the market is certainly as robust as ever.
“The charter market is buoyant but still very ‘last-minute’ compared to previous years,” she says. “What is clear is that with more yachts available than ever before and with more flexibility in pricing, there has never been a better time to charter. Tax issues, particularly in Italy, have steered some clients away from their usual haunts but other destinations, such as Croatia, have grown in popularity as a result."
One word probably best sums up the first half of 2012: ‘consistent’.
So far, 2012 is mirroring the trends of last year. Big yachts continue to show signs of getting bigger. Sailing yachts are entering a new phase of innovation and design, older yachts are selling alongside new ones - albeit from different ends of the price spectrum - and Italian brands, as always, remain the most purchased yachts in the world.
So far…we think it’s a year for buyers and sellers alike.