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Black Market

Yacht Buyers Wait Whilst Salesmen Beckon  –  As world economies turn a different shade of green than usual, and as the full measure of the financial tsunami has yet to be calculated, those lucky few yacht buyers still in the game are being chased by salesmen brandishing seductive offers. One buyer, Richard Stokes of Florida, told BVIYG that a catamaran he had shown interest in at the Annapolis Boat Show in October 2008 had dropped 30% or about $200,000 in price by the end of the year. “I don't even know what I want,” he said. “I just said I liked the look of it.”

 

BVI charter captain Rick Hannah has been trying to sell his 43-foot C + C Landfall for over a year. The price has gone steadily down culminating in a serious drop in recent months. What started out as a $90,000 boat is currently a $69,000 one. He thought he had a deal but the buyer withdrew. “There's been offers,” he said recently, “but they haven't panned out.” Buyers are confused, waiting for further price drops or simply too nervous to part with their cash.

Chris Simpson of BVI Yacht Sales told us that for his firm numbers of enquiries “have dropped to 30% of normal, though on the the bright side sales are running at 60% of normal. Lots of people have been dreaming of buying a boat for years and are still interested,” he said. “Most of the real buyers are just getting on with it.”

 

Richard Stokes chuckled when he said “You should see the e-mails I've been getting after the Boat Show. The sales guys are relentless. I bet I've got two or three new (e-mails) right now.”
“The market is very soft,” Simpson said. “Lots have people have simply just shelved the idea. Frankly I don't see it getting very much better before the end of the year.”

Be that as it may, Stokes is still interested in buying. In fact, he set up some appointments to view boats whilst on vacation in the BVI in early January. “I don't have to buy a boat,” he said, “but if I see a bargain I'm ready.”

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