Brokerage sales data, compiled by BOATPro, from the first half of 2023 indicates a marked decline from the unprecedented numbers seen in 2021 and 2022. The total value of sales completed between January and June this year was €2.79 billion, which represents a five per cent decrease in comparison to H1 2022 at €2.94 billion and an 18 per cent decrease on H1 2021, where total sales peaked at €3.4 billion.
This number is also mirrored looking at the Q2 figures in isolation: total sales figures are down 11 per cent on Q2 2022 and a sizeable 45 per cent down on Q2 2021. However, the industry is quick to point out that these figures are numbers normalising after an exceptional period.
In terms of the number of sales, the decline is far more noticeable. A total of 221 yachts were sold in H1 2023, which is down 27 per cent from H1 2022 (304) and 42 per cent from the peak year of 2021 (382). However, the number of sales in H1 2023 exceeds that of 2020 (167) and 2019 (210).
Similarly, for the second quarter of 2023, the number of sales (128) is lower compared to that of 2022 (144) and 2021 (232), while again, exceeding that of 2020 (75) and 2019 (122). The total sales value – based on last known asking prices – however, has risen from €1.21 billion in Q2 2022 to €1.74 billion in Q2 2023, representing an increase of 44 per cent. These numbers are likely to have been impacted by the sale of several high-ticket yachts.
H1 2023 in numbers
€2.79B total value of sales
€12.6M average asking price
336 average gross tonnage (GT)
Q2 2023 in numbers
€1.74B total value of sales
€13.6M average asking price
347 average gross tonnage (GT)
Palma-based Arne Ploch, senior sales broker at Camper & Nicholsons, is upbeat and told BOATPro: "I reckon the market is stabilising and coming back to a normal level, better than pre-covid but not as good as 2021 and 2022 which were exceptional years. The numbers are probably further down in the segment below 35 metres, while at 40 metres plus we are looking at less downturn than in the smaller yacht market. We will see what will happen with the autumn boat shows and the numbers for the rest of the year, but I am expecting that the market is stabilising above the 2019 figures."
Strength in the 50 to 70-metre sector
The mid to larger range of the sector continues to perform well. In the 50- to 70-metre segment, there were 16 sales concluded in H1 of 2023 compared with seven in 2020 and 14 in 2019. However, 2022 saw 17 yachts sold in this size category whereas 2021 recorded 23 yachts sold. In the 70-metre-plus sector, H1 of 2023 saw seven sales compared to a peak of 10 in 2021 and five in 2019. These peaks and troughs are similar for Q2 comparisons.
Fraser's director of marketing and business development Mark Duncan rightly pointed out: "In a unique market where it only takes a few large sales to radically change the data narrative, there is a lot of activity out there at the moment. June was a very strong month for many houses and July is looking almost as active."
Founder Chris Cecil-Wright told BOATPro that Cecil Wright & Partners' focus remains on individual sales rather than analysing larger market trends. “I am happy with a buoyant market, of course, but we work equally hard, probably harder, when the volumes are down,” he said.
The first half of 2023 has seen a good number of high-value brokerage sales, the largest being the 115-metre Lürssen Ahpo (now Lady Jorgia) in May, which was asking €330 million when sold by Moran Yacht & Ship. This was followed by the sale of Feadship’s 75-metre Arrow within the same month, sold by Michael Tabor and Brandon Kummer of Kitson Yachts and Andrew Bond of Fraser with an asking price of €139.9 million.
Other high-value sales in H1 2023 included the 68-metre Soaring (now Starlust) that had a sale asking price of €88 million with Peter Hürzeler and Daniel Küpfer of Ocean Independence, as well as the 60-metre Heesen Lusine, which was sold in a deal between Fraser, Burgess and KAYZ Marine with an asking price of $82 million.Read More/The biggest yacht sales of 2023 so far
Meanwhile, the 82-metre Sarafsa (now Pure) was asking €65 million when Rupert Nelson and Matt Pinckney of Burgess sold the yacht to an owner with ambitions to “bring her back to her former glory and some more”.
A steady stream of high-value listings to the market has helped to rebalance supply with demand in 2023, which has also contributed to the normalisation of sale asking prices. Three new listings of note include the 115-metre Lürssen Pelorus, asking €185,000,000 with Dominic Millman of Burgess, the 89-metre Amels Here Comes the Sun, asking $195,000,000 with Stuart Larsen of Fraser and Tim Vickers of Burgess and the 95-metre Kismet, now asking €149,000,000 with Cecil Wright & Partners.
The numbers indicate that despite a slowdown the market remains strong. With an influx of new owners and charterers now in the industry, there is a strong focus on maintaining new clients.
Duncan pointed out that more than 40 per cent of clients coming to Fraser over the last two years were coming into yachting for the very first time. "Despite all the geopolitical and external factors that constantly influence the appetite clients have for yachts and yachting,” he said. “I feel we as an industry remain in a very strong environment and I see no reason why demand should not continue to remain stronger than the pre-Covid years throughout the rest of 2023."