Top 10 USA Yacht Sales Insights for August/September 2022
September 6th, 2022
For August/September Berthon USA’s Managing Broker Alan Baines brings us some insights on the yacht sales market from our helm based in Newport, Rhode Island – USA. We keep a close eye on what happens on the Berthon USA side of the Atlantic as their trends often navigate eastwards to European shores.
Some insights of note from Berthon USA for August/September 2022 –
Berthon USA’s mid summer season market view is a tale of mixed messages. The Spring saw strong brokerage demand. However, the lack of yacht listings meant yachts were quickly going under agreement at or close to the asking price. Some recently delivered new yachts sold on the brokerage market at higher numbers than their original purchase price!
Over the summer we have started to see the effects of high gas prices, higher interest rates, and a stock market that is not as robust as before. High gas prices do seem to have curtailed powerboat use, and some summer island destinations, such as Block Island, and Cuttyhunk definitely seem less crowded than we would expect. Our market, of course, is heavily skewed towards power rather than sail. The mainland marinas on the other hand, are all full to the brim.
Statistically, Yacht World has gone from about 48,000 listings (worldwide) a few months ago, to 56,000 now (August 2022), which is a 14% increase in listings. We would not typically see this increase during the summer. All our offices are accepting instructions to list yachts at a more rapid rate than would be the norm during the season. A number of buyers are sitting on the side lines, waiting to see where the economy goes. It is fair to note that the “must buy today” urgency we witnessed during the height of the pandemic and as we pulled out of it, has been replaced by more normal buying processes.
On the positive side for American buyers, the dollar is at near historic highs against both the Pound and the Euro, and that gives a lot of purchasing power for Americans looking at yachts on the other side of the Atlantic. Tempering this though, are the far higher costs of shipping to the USA than was the norm even a couple of years ago.
It will be interesting to gauge the market’s pulse at the fall boat shows, which are just around the corner. Most boatbuilders have enjoyed unprecedented orderbooks in the last 2 years, but they are now having to wrestle with very real inflation, which has not been a factor in decades. Supply chain issues are creating monumental problems – upholstery one month, and engines the next.
The surge of listing instructions across all Berthon offices is particularly noticeable in the 40 to 50 foot segment. This is very noticeable at Berthon Scandinavia where the main brokerage stock is in this size band.
Of instructions received we are seeing many more mature yachtsmen selling before the end of the season to take advantage of a good market and in many cases in anticipation of more difficult times ahead. Many of our instructions are coming from people leaving yachting or with no plans to buy again straight away.
Enquiry levels are generally down with the exception of the 40 to 50 foot segment. A word of caution in reading too much into this as August is typically a low enquiry month (2021 was exceptional as we came out of COVID-19) because potential buyers are occupied with summer holidays. The enquiry rate normally rises as the autumn boat shows start to promote new interest.
Yacht sales in the USA remain at high levels, but high pricing is not holding and American clients are in many cases not committing now, particularly in the motor yacht segment where fuel prices are an issue.
We previously mentioned that motor yacht owners were using their yachts less this summer (not a trend being seen in our European offices) so we expect to see more inventory in this segment come onto the market if fuel prices continue at current levels.