Fort Lauderdale, FL April 1, 2013 – In recent years the marine industry has battened down its hatches in an effort to survive the economic storm.
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. We are 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, 2013. 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’ range”.
The pre-owned marketplace offers extremely good value for boat ownership to discerning buyers. The challenge is sorting through all the available yachts in the class or style a buyer wishes to consider. “This is the expertise that Merritt Yacht Brokers brings to its clients,” says Hannon. People are ready for change, and refreshed consumer confidence is leading to a realization that today’s best bargains will not be with us very long.
MYB sees the opportunity for successful recovery and sustained growth. By remaining focused on the customer, MYB will achieve its goal of providing the most professional buying experience for the yachting enthusiast. However, to provide this level of service continued investment and creativity are paramount. The surge of interest in quality pre-owned boats and yachts has widened buyers’ methods of searching for quality pre-owned vessels. Today is a virtual, online world. MYB is embracing this business reality by undertaking development of the tools and technology that enable our brokers to provide the best service possible to both our sellers and buyers.
MYB’s tenets are to be realistic and honest about quality, value and price, thus building trust with buyers and sellers alike. We work hard to present our product with professional consistency, and in the most effective way possible. We need to make certain that customers see a desirable lifestyle, and a leisure opportunity that they can enjoy as individuals, couples, and families once again. “We are committed to be at the forefront of the industry in both integrity and communication with our clients.”
Boating is a desirable lifestyle and leisure activity. People are returning to a mindset of living the lives they want to lead; enjoying their leisure time with family and friends. “Boating delivers a life time of special memories to the owners, their families, and friends” says Hannon, who is an avid sport fisherman and owner of a 61’ Garlington.
Note: Michael Hannon is the Chairman and CEO of Merritt Yacht Brokers, Inc. With over 40 years of experience in the marine brokerage industry, MYB is known for its integrity and client service. Please visit www.merrittyachts.com or call 954.761.1300 for additional information.