Yacht-Buying Season: Brokerage Market Ramping Up

The yacht brokerage market is leveling out, with more boats becoming available.
Cannes Yachting Festival
Tim Derrico, director of sales at HMY, says owners have been clamoring to put boats into shows too. Courtesy Cannes Yachting Festival

Nobody is ready to say just yet that the universe of brokerage boats has fully shifted from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. But longtime sales brokers do say the brokerage market is finally leveling out after the craziness that left sellers in control throughout the pandemic.

“There’s more price negotiation than there was,” says sales broker Jeff Stanley at Gilman Yachts in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “There are more people getting into contracts and having second thoughts. They watch the news, they look at the interest rates, they get the insurance quotes and requirements, and they change their mind.”

Curtis Stokes, president of Curtis Stokes & Associates in Fort Lauderdale, says the market recalibration is the talk of the city. “Other brokers at other firms are now calling me to ask if things have slowed down, because things have slowed down for them,” he says. “We’re definitely picking up more listings. Now, it’s fall, and we tend to get more listings, but people are starting to finally put their boats on the market.”

Docked Yachts
As of early September, brokers said, all the slips for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show were filled. Courtesy Cannes Yachting Festival

Tim Derrico, director of sales at HMY, says owners have been clamoring to put boats into shows too. “I’ve got a list a mile long for our Fort Lauderdale display,” he said in early September. “For the last few years, it’s been scratching and clawing for boats to go in the show. There are definitely more boats available.”

For boats from 50 to 80 feet length overall, Stanley says, high interest rates mean fewer people are looking to buy, equating to less competition for deals. Derrico also says interest rates are a factor, with the overall economy tough to predict going forward. “I’m a voracious reader of The Wall Street Journal, and one page is the end of the world, the next page is great,” he says. “It’s hard to figure right now.”

Tips for Brokerage Buyers

Get Insurance in Place: Yes, interest rates are high, but brokers say big insurance quotes are often an even bigger sticking point when trying to close on a brokerage boat right now.

Negotiate Within Reason: It’s not a full-on buyer’s market. Lowball offers generally aren’t accepted.

Know the Averages: Demand is slowing for boats in the $300,000 to $400,000 range,but above $500,000, there are still multiple buyers.