When there are four second-hand Lürssens – Martha Ann, TV, Solandge and Northern Star – on the market with an accumulated €113.6 million’s worth of price reductions between them since being listed for sale, one might be justified in thinking that these yachts are an incredibly tough sell.
“This is a Rolls-Royce. This thing has a whole different level of systems on it,” expresses Frank Grzeszczak of IYC as we sit on the main deck aft of the spotless, recently refitted 70m Martha Ann – listed for sale in September 2015 for $110 million, making her the most recently listed CA of the four – at the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show.
“How many qualified buyers are there here?”, he asks. “Are there 10, are there 20, or are there 30? We’re the fourth largest boat at the show and we’re $79 million [current asking price]. Then it comes down to the smaller details; do they like the décor? Do they like the exterior? There are only so many guys in the world, let alone the show, who can afford a boat like this.”
Martha Ann recently finished a five-month refit at Melita Marine in Malta, with Grzeszczak describing her availability for viewings during this period as “less than ideal” and suggesting that yachts for sale in superyachting hubs such as Monaco are often “sold by mistake”, due to numerous brokers touring other yachts in the vicinity.
Very often when an owner lists a yacht for sale, they are still too attached to it, but as soon as they divorce themselves from it emotionally, that is when the sale happens.
In July this year, 78.4m TV was reduced in price by €38 million to €92 million; a matter of days later, a $10 million reduction was announced on Martha Ann. “After hearing about TV, I called the owner and had a price reduction within two minutes”, he continues. “The owner had wanted to hold tight, but these reductions are based on activity and who is looking at the boat and we had to remain competitive.” The 85.1m Solandge, which had a €6 million reduction in March 2016, was then reduced by a further €14 million just prior to its appearance at the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show.
Querying Grzeszczak as to whether there was perhaps an element of these yachts not being ‘seriously for sale’, as the industry puts it, he insists that “It’s not like listing a 70ft. Hatteras or Benetti, where there are 20 of them out there and you can easily find a price-point; there are so few historical re-sales of this calibre. Kismet [68m Lurssen] was the last similar boat to be sold [in November 2013].”
But the second-hand market need not be as daunting as it seems for sellers. It actually poses an opportunity; to come to market with a good quality product at a realistic price. We’ve created a complicated marketplace for buyers by letting sellers dictate the terms and timescale of sales.
Grzeszczak’s concluding message is very apt for sellers who start their price high: “Very often when an owner lists a yacht for sale, they are still too attached to it, but as soon as they divorce themselves from it emotionally, that is when the sale happens. That is the key to it. I’m done with the boat, I want to move on, here it is.”