The market saw noticeably fewer price reductions throughout 2013 and a steady stream of sales throughout the year. With the close of 2013 proving to be especially fruitful, many brokers are looking more positively to 2014 than since the global crash of 2008. Rebecca Curran speaks with the top brokers for the lessons learned from 2013 and how the market can continue on its positive trajectory.

What piece of advice would you give to owners looking to sell their yacht in 2014?

"Selling a yacht needn't be rocket science. Make it available, present it well, and price it sensibly." - Tim Wiltshire, sales director, Burgess

“I think the starting point is to ensure a realistic asking price, which reflects present market conditions. An accurate and thorough specification as well as quality images are also essential. The yacht should be located in an easy destination for potential buyers to travel to; preferably one of the major yachting ports where a buyer is in a position to view several yachts on the same trip. The above criteria being fulfilled, good exposure of the yacht, both in print advertising and online, should ensure plenty of inspections. It is then essential that the yacht and crew present in the best possible manner.” - Jeremy Comport, sales broker, Camper & Nicholsons International

"I have the feeling that it is the same as ten years ago where the market was slowly getting stronger and yachts priced correctly will continue to sell. The good quality shipyards are starting to fill up and I'm sure we will see the market continue to strengthen over the next two or three years but at a more sensible rate than it did in the last decade and therefore it will be less likely to create another bubble. Ultimately, you need to know your product and the market. And then you need to have patience, patience, patience." - Dennis Frederiksen, sales broker, Fraser Yachts

"If an owner wants to sell in this market, it is important that the asking price is set realistically to reflect recently achieved sales prices on similar yachts to achieve a quick sale. Yachts sitting on the market continue to cost owners both in terms of running costs and depreciation. Owners would be well reminded that your first buyer and offer is generally the best you will see. We have so many examples where owners should have taken that first offer -  if they had, they would have achieved over 20% more than the final price they resold for a year or two later. Appoint a central agent who gives you the reality of the market, based on factual sales data, as opposed to wild promises on the price that they can achieve." - Will Christie, yacht sales, Y.CO

What can be learned from the market this year, to ensure a fruitful 2014?

"I’ve seen sellers bringing their yachts to market at more realistic prices or making large price adjustments to bring their sales effort in line with buyer’s expectations.  I’ve also seen a marked improvement in buyers entering the market or current owners looking to upgrade. There is still a general downward pressure on pricing, but I see this improving along with a general shortening of the sales cycle for realistic sellers. As sales improve, it should actually encourage more buyers to get off the sidelines in 2014. Instability has a large negative affect on the sentiment of buyers in the yachting industry. Some of these sources of instability are beyond our control, such as government turmoil, exchange rates, and price of oil just to name a few. However, we can have a positive effect by trying to more accurately price the yachts with fewer price reductions in order to make buyers more confident in the value of what they are buying." - Wes Anderson, sales broker, Northrop & Johnson

“We are cautiously optimistic about the current market. We are improving on sales and there are certainly more enquiries across our central agency fleet. Good value and volume is generally preferred over speed. It is still a challenging environment, with more yachts for sale than ever before and the supply far outstripping the demand. This may only change if we see the emerging markets taking up the slack but they are unlikely to favour older stock. Negotiation margins are varied and can seriously affect the expected timeline for selling. Lessons for 2014 are that up front and open discussions need to be had with sellers so they are realistic about value and come to the market knowing what they want to achieve. For buyers, the lessons are that the market is moving again and it will come down to finding the middle ground with sellers to make a deal work – work out what they want from a yacht and let those requirements direct the search: the concept of ‘stealing’ a yacht and buying just for the sake of the deal may not always be the best for their yachting interests in the long term.” - Jamie Small, Senior Sales Broker, OceanStyle by Burgess Palma

"The EU is a fiscal nightmare for yachting and unless we really do finally get organised, get these egos packed away and represent ourselves properly, it's really going to damage the long term outlook for us all. The commercial path we have been following in recent years is also starting to cause pain, particularly to our owners. Is now not the time to plead that we really are not that commercial and ask for a set of rules and regulations that at least gives us a chance to try meet the needs and desires of our clients?" - Toby Maclaurin, commercial manager, Ocean Independence

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