In recent years the marine industry has battened down its hatches in an effort to survive the economic storm.
Beach Carolina Magazine reported that depressed housing prices, stock prices and employment levels placed the economies of the world in the doldrums. Elections, the Euro-crisis, taxation, healthcare, the fiscal cliff, created negative attitudes, and all impacted consumer confidence. The boat and yacht business was no exception. By mid-2008, potential boat-buyers seemed to ban together with a common attitude of “Why buy now, when tomorrow you can buy cheaper?”
But times are changing and so is the public psyche. The industry is starting to realize strong economic data, and evidence of a domestic growth environment. We see signs of the most optimistic times for the US boating industry since 2008. Overall boat sales rose 10% in 2012 according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s recent report. Today’s activity shows every indication of continued substantial improvement in 2013 & 2014.
“We are experiencing increased activity in listings and sales, which, with the rising employment we see in the marine industry, are very encouraging signs to those of us at MYB,” said Michael Hannon, CEO of Merritt Yacht Brokers, Inc.
New brokerage sales in 2012 were up 2% in boat value and up 3% in sales volume over the previous year. Year-over-year January 2013, sales were higher than 2012. Pre-owned boat sale volumes increased by 1%, while at the same time average resale values increased at a rate greater than 20%.
Consumer borrowing in January added $16.2 billion to a total of $2.8 trillion – over 200,000 jobs were created in each month from November through January. The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all time high of 14,413 on March 8. Worldwide share prices exceeded their peak of mid June 2008. Surging stock prices, mending housing and labor markets as well as a booming energy sector are among the tailwinds propelling the U.S. economy. The mix of new jobs is also changing, as we create higher paying jobs.
“The climate for boat sales and boat prices are the most robust which we have viewed since 2008. We are experiencing very strong pent-up demand for pre-owned boats and yachts,” said Hannon. “We are receiving substantial inquiries for superior quality and extremely well maintained boats in the 30- to 80-foot range.”
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