We wanted to share some insights into the current state of the boat market. We were at a Yacht Broker’s Association of America (YBAA) seminar a few weeks ago and were able to gauge the temperature of the industry from other brokers. The general consensus reflects our own sense, that, while things are slowing, good inventory is in short supply and is selling, but the market is reverting to pre-pandemic pace. The catamaran market is not as hot as it was and it seems that many people who would have made the bigger boat purchases, particularly cash buyers, are holding off for a while because the stock market is doing well, so they can re-coup some of their recent losses, while those who are financing bigger purchases are perhaps holding off due to interest rates.
We had a talk from someone in the Marine Financing world, who reiterated that Banks are still lending and the unemployment rate is low, so there is money flowing through the economy. With the higher interest rates, some people are holding back, but for those at the top end of the age demographic who recall 21% inflation, the current rates are not putting them off. Interestingly, she had been in the Channel Islands a few weeks previously and walked into a Yacht Sales office in Jersey. She asked them what their thoughts were about the state of the industry and they expressed exactly what we are finding in the US. Which was re-assuring.
The feeling is that there are still more people making the leap and going adventuring/living aboard than pre-2020, as the expectations of employers has changed, allowing more people to work remotely; and technology has advanced to the point that internet access is inexpensive and almost universally available. In the last few months we have seen an increase in the number of people getting into boating at the under $100K level. So this has kept the market moving.
Insurance is the one area where people are having all sorts of issues. With the huge hurricane losses in Florida and places south, insurance companies are becoming extremely ‘picky’. We are advising our buyers to start working on insurance as soon as they make an offer on a boat.
Boat US linked up with Geico several years ago and our customers, even those who have had Boat US insurance for decades, are finding it difficult to insure with them. Their parameters are extremely limited. Our advice is to go to an insurance broker and let them work for you. Some companies are not insuring people who are moving up in boat size more than 5 feet; others are hooked on the age of the standing rigging; some want a certain level of experience. An insurance broker knows the foibles of each insurance company and can work with you to find the best fit. Our ‘go to’ insurance broker is Doug Kohlenstein of JLK Group. Doug is hard working and responsive and has worked wonders for many of our customers. Contact Doug: 443-303-0393 email@example.com
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, now is a great time to make your move. Contact the YaZu Crew, and we’ll help guide you through the process.