Superyacht sales in January 2023 were down more than 50 per cent year on year.
The global superyacht broker market may be off to a faltering start to 2023, after two record breaking years.
Analysis by BOAT International recorded 32 superyacht sales in January 2023, for a total sale value of $153.3 million. This is less than half the total sale value this time last year, when 42 yachts were sold for $336 million, and 20 per cent below the sales in January 2021.
The dip of last month follows a roaring end to 2022 for the industry: in December, 50 superyachts were sold for a total $592 million.
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But yacht brokers say demand is still strong compared to pre-pandemic levels. Mark Duncan, Business Development & Marketing at yacht brokerage FRASER, says the industry isn't experiencing a decline in demand, but rather a slowing from the fervent pace of sales seen throughout the pandemic.
November and December, in particular, tend to see a high level of activity as people hurry to settle deals for the new year.
‘Like most purchases of passion, yachting is susceptible to a number of worldwide geopolitical, economic and geographical influences, but as it stands right now, all the indicators are that the demand for purchasing will continue to outpace the pre-Covid years by some margin, albeit slowing slightly on the boom years of 2021 and 2022,’ he tells Spear’s.
Although the firm’s January number of sales is below 2022 and 2021, Duncan says, it was still almost double the average January in the preceding 11 years.
The biggest superyacht sales of January 2023
Three of the January sales were new builds, including a Majesty 140 from Gulf Craft, a Codecasa Vintage Series model and a 28-metre Pershing 9X, the asking prices of which have been withheld.
The most expensive brokerage sale in January was the 37-metre motor yacht Jules from Custom Line, which sold for €16.5 million (around $17.6 million).
The second most expensive brokerage sale of the month was secured by Edmiston for the 49.8-metre sailing yacht Perini Navi Silencio, with an asking price of €13.5 million ($14.4 million).
Meanwhile, January 2023 saw 63 new superyachts listed for sale, more than double the number of a year ago. These new listings are of remarkably high value, with an average price of $20 million. In comparison, in January 2022 the average newly listed yacht was $9 million. Brokers say despite the dip in sales, there is still a high level of enquiries, particularly for large, pedigree stock.
The recent listings include Oceanco's 85-metre motor yacht Cloud 9, which is listed with Burgess for an asking price of €155 million ($165 million). Two other yachts were placed on the market with asking prices at or above the €100 million threshold including Lürssen's 90-metre Ice and Feadship's 76-metre Ebony Shine.
The total value of new listings in January 2023 was $1.2 billion, more than four times the new listing value in January 2022.
It’s clear people are keen to sell, with 70 yachts seeing price drops in January, for a total price reduction of $54.2 million. The largest drop was Codecasa's 61.9-metre Moneikos, which was reduced by a quarter to €29.25 million ($31 million).
Alex Koersvelt, Commercial Director of Edmiston, says the yacht brokerage market is entering its new normal. Although it may not be the same pace of demand seen throughout the last three years, the yachting client base has grown hugely through the pandemic, and their demands are changing too.
‘We are noticing a trend of existing clients stepping up in size as they are tending to spend more time onboard their boats following Covid-19 changing the way we all live and work,’ Koersvelt says.
‘We are also seeing an influx of first-time buyers investing in yachting as a way of enhancing their lifestyle and spending more time with family and friends.’
Yachting appetite 'will only grow'
Duncan believes the new clients of the pandemic, which for FRASER made up 40 per cent of their client base in 2021 and 2022, are here to stay - and their appetite for yachting will only grow.
‘They and their families will have been bitten by the bug and are loving every minute of the freedom, exploration and “time-out” that yachts and yachting opens up for them,’ Duncan says.
‘And they will be sharing their experiences with friends and extended family who in turn will then also be excited to try it all out for themselves – whether as upcoming owners or as charterers.’
With a swathe of new yachts entering the market and brokers jostling to get them sold, it’s clear the market is not lacking activity. Whether sales numbers will continue to fall, or will settle at a level above the pre-pandemic norms, remains to be seen.
Header image: The DOJO is a classic Feadship, currently listed by FRASER Yachts for $9.5 million. Image courtesy of FRASER.
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