BROKER'S OPINION: PETER BROWN

With 110 yachts sold already, this quarter has logged the highest number of transactions since the global financial crisis in 2008. And in the past two weeks alone, Burgess has seen an unprecedented level of sales activity. This, combined with the increased activity at the end of 2013, indicates that there should be a promising second half of the year ahead.

In April, we saw a kick-start to the brokerage market as buyers looked to acquire vessels in time for the Mediterranean summer season and, so far this year, yacht sales have outstripped new listings by a little under 10%.

As the supply of pre-owned superyachts dwindles, the average price of those still on the market is firming up. Nevertheless, there are still some very attractive turnkey options where owners are simply keen to divest themselves of a yacht. An example of this is the sporty 39.6m (130ft) Overmarine ABILITY; she is a great charter performer with a striking interior, regular refits and an excellent maintenance schedule.

Dissecting the brokerage market over recent months, it is clear that the older yachts from lesser-known yards are still proving hard to move without discounted prices. Risk-averse buyers will rarely consider anything that is viewed as a ‘project’ until the pricing becomes too attractive to ignore. However, there are a number of spectacularly maintained classic yachts from very reputable yards that could make a very interesting prospect for the right buyer.

Solid pedigree, recent vintage and great design are still the buzzwords most of our brokers are asked to look out for and, with relatively little new build activity in the last three to four years, there is a limited supply of inventory coming to the market to fill this niche.

As the subtle reduction in brokerage inventory continues and options for recent-vintage quality yachts wanes, the new build market becomes more attractive. Yacht builders and designers seem to be busy again, and the order books are growing, which is positive news. There are currently a number of excellent in-build prospects on the market that would see delivery before 2016, many with ample scope to customise to a buyer’s tastes.

Although it is typical for brokerage activity to flatten a little during the coming months – while many look to charter and put off buying until after the summer – I expect there to be a strong rebound as we build up to the Monaco Yacht Show.

I fully expect to see brokerage and new build activity hit new highs this autumn, albeit in a more mature marketplace that has corrected itself after the frenzied build up to September 2008. Exciting times lie ahead.

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