Blog | The Yacht Sales Market – 2015 Trends and What Lies Ahead

January 8, 2016

The Yacht Sales Market – 2015 Trends and What Lies Ahead

While the yachting market has had its share of rough seas over the past few years, currently the market for pre-owned motor yachts is at its best since the start of the recession in 2008.

Sales of existing yachts have been steadily improving, charter income is up, and new builds are in the works by major yacht makers the world over.

For example Yacht World’s Soldboats Report for the summer of 2015, found US brokerage volume to be up overall, even though values in the “superyacht” category saw some declines. The report, covering the month of August, found that “sales were up 1 percent for the month compared to the previous August, with 2,908 boats sold.”

The report went on to say that, the total price paid for all boats sold declined by $22 million to $280 million. This was largely due to a drop of 50% in sales of boats over 80 feet long.

Values were higher in four of the other five length segments of the market, led by boats 56 to 79 feet, which delivered $12 million more than the year before on the strength of a 23 percent rise in sales volume.

Sales of all boats under 45 feet were level or up incrementally, while boats 46 to 55 feet sold for an aggregate price 4 percent lower than August 2014, despite a 1 percent gain in the number of sales.

Yacht in sunset

What To Take away From the Report

Similar gains were made for yacht brokerage in July, where the total number of boats sold was up 2 percent from 3,313 in the same month last year and the total price paid for the boats rose 12% percent from $298 million.

After a strong first quarter that showed increases in boat sales across all sizes and types of boats, experts predicted a 2015 boat sales gain in the range of 6 percent to 8 percent, “We’re definitely on pace for that,” Statistical Surveys national marine sales manager Ryan Kloppe said in a June interview with the Yachting publication, Trade Only Today.

The August report on yacht sales is the third month in a row that total sales for that category were up, a good sign that the yacht brokerage industry continues on course towards pre-recessions sales levels.


A Very Strong Summer for 2015 and Beyond

In addition to the Soldboats Report for August 2015, in June of 2015, it was reported by Boat International that 43 superyachts had been sold in that month alone. That was the same count as the previous month and “slightly down on the previous June’s tally of 49. To keep things in perspective, however, this June’s figure still trounces any June tally from 2009 to 2012 and when it comes to combined length, it has nearly 100m on May 2015, despite the identical number of sales.”

The publication went on to say that, there were 18 superyacht launches in June 2015, compared to 20 in May and 21 in June 2014.

Following the summer, although sales took a slight dip in the fall of 2015, as they usually do, numbers stayed strong. After four solid months of growth, up through and including September, October showed a slight decrease in volume over the same time in 2014. Volume dropped by 97 boats, or 4 percent, with 2,219 boats sold. However, despite a small dip from October of 2014, the 2,219 total is still slightly above the five-year average for the month of October.

The total sales value of $264.7 million was down 17 percent from the previous October’s $319.6 million. The main difference was that sales of boats larger than 46 feet declined from 260 to 228 and the total price paid for boats in this range dropped $60 million, or 33 percent.

Despite a drop in the numbers for October, overall sales for 2015 were still positive. According to YachtWorld’s Q3 Market 2015 Market Index “Small but steady gains were the norm in the yacht brokerage market in the U.S. and Europe during the third quarter of 2015. Brokerage members of YachtWorld reported that “as a group they were selling more boats, at a higher total value, than in the third quarter of 2014.”

In the U.S., Quarters 1-3 2014 saw 24,549 boats sold for a total of $ 2.78 billion, in 2015 for the same quarters it has been somewhat less in total sales, at 24,365 boats, but more in gross receipts at $2.91 billion. While in Europe higher total value was driven by the sale of Megayachts, here in the U.S. it was by sales of boats 36 to 79 feet range pushing total value higher.

The appeal of this size range driving sales here in the U.S. was evident with the excitement drawn by the new Dyna 60, showcased by 26 North Yachts at the recent Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Sellers with boats in this size range can expect to do well, as they are of great interest among buyers.

Charter Markets

Just as important as the reported rebound in the yacht sales markets, is the fact that the yacht charter industry is experiencing a bit of a boom.  The research firm “Future Market Insights” most recent report on the state of the charter market from 2014 to 2020 predicts major progress for the industry. The report stated this is largely due to the increasing demand for yacht charters, coupled with rising disposable income of consumers, which in turn is being supported by the growing number of yacht charter destinations.  This is all fueling the growth of the overall yacht charter market, now, and through 2020.

Why should that matter if you are thinking about selling your yacht? It is good news for sellers, because there is a new and growing crop of yacht buyers who are realizing how they can offset the costs of yacht ownership through charter income.

If you have taken advantage of the benefits of chartering your yacht, then you know how you can leverage that as a selling point. If you have not taken your boat into charter, here are some tips on how you can explain the value of chartering to a potential buyer.

  • Offsetting expenses – Chartering your yacht should not be seen as a major generator of income, (unless you have purchased it strictly to start a charter business). But, in general, it should pay for dockage, routine maintenance and insurance. In other words, placing your boat with a good charter broker could reduce your operating expense by 30-70%, which can be significant!
  • Use is good – It may seem a bit counterintuitive, but infrequently used yachts tend to have more maintenance issues. Fuel sitting in tanks and a million other things like that are bad for the boat – giving one’s yacht regular “exercise” is important. Putting a yacht into a charter program also enforces a stricter maintenance regimen which can pay dividends down the road.
  • Keeps your crew sharp – Chartering enables a crew to hone their skills (after all how many weeks a year is an owner using his boat?) while also earning extra income via charter tips. After all, a happy crew is a better performing crew.
  • An ego boost – There is a kind of “psychological benefit” of sharing a yacht, if only for the day or week, with other people. Most owners put tremendous thoughts and care into choosing their yacht, maybe customizing it or decorating the interior….and actually feel good that other people get an opportunity to enjoy it, particularly if the yacht is under-utilized by the owner.
  • Tax advantages – This benefit is definitely one that needs to be explored by an accountant…but there maybe significant tax benefits associated with putting a boat into charter. Some tax deductions that would not otherwise be available materialize because certain costs essentially become business expenses.

Azimut 64 Flybridge

Even if you have never considered chartering your yacht before, as the market remains strong in 2016, if you are considering selling your yacht, now is the best time to make her available for charter.

Charting will get your boat seen. A boat that is available and marketed for charter has a higher profile relative to one that is only available for private use. A prospective buyer of a motor yacht might want to take her out for a “try it before you buy it” charter first.



Finding the latest news about the yachting market in South Florida and around the globe, can be challenging. If you would like to benefit from our expertise in these areas, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Sales Specialists, or call us at 954-900-9988.

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