Statistics, presentations and late order book-bolstering announcements from the likes of Lürssen, Feadship and Gulf Craft have reaffirmed that 'building bigger', regardless of the build platform, is the cornerstone of yacht building’s future; fuelled by a group of ton-hungry new build clients.
Seeing the 7,000 gross ton gargantuan Ulysses sitting at anchor during the Monaco Yacht Show this year, dwarfing every yacht in sight – including neighbour Phillip Green's 90m Lionheart, which looked as if it could be hauled on board as its tender – was breathtaking, but also a statement of the industry’s intent.
At 65m+, there are currently 58 vessels in the order book and there have been six confirmed second-hand sales in this size segment for the first 9 months of 2016. But the second-hand market’s lack of activity is not conceivably acting as a deterrent for prospective buyers – and why would it? If you want to build your dream yacht and you are acutely aware of what ownership involves, what is there to stop you? – who, at some point, may wish to consider the prospects of selling further down the line.
The mind boggles when you consider €100m+ asking prices for second-hand yachts – one of which I'm told is actually asking over €300 million currently – and individual price reduction instalments of up to €40 million; a figure that in itself could fund the purchase and operation of a top pedigree yacht.
But, how does one value a yacht so unique and highly customised? And how can we, as an industry, rectify the ostensible stagnation of 65m+ re-sale listings? Is it a case of educating owners in the need to cut their losses and drop their pricing expectations from speculatively high levels? And prove to them that a listing price of 20% lower – more often than not the price it should have been listed at, or the price it may be reduced to – could guarantee a quick, stress-free sale and save on a toilsome duration of operational expenditure?
The onus is on us to prove to first-time buyers, who are repressed by the industry’s lack of liquidity, that the second-hand market is strong enough to support the new build market. They say the happiest two moments of ownership are when you buy a boat and when you sell it, but statistics would suggest that the scales are being tipped by the weight of the former.