4 things you need to know about the superyacht market this summer

Market caution is not putting off serious buyers

As the Mediterranean season approaches, a rush of superyacht sales are to be expected, with clients keen to get back on the water in time for summer. This year, geo-political events have led to a certain air of healthy caution in the market, according to Alex Koersvelt, sales broker at Edmiston.

“I have seen enough in the last six months to suggest there is an increased level of caution from buyers out there,” he told Boat International. “Whether this is purely down to the well-documented global climate is open to debate, but it reinforces the fact that a good offer should be respected and carefully considered by sellers.”

In the first four months of 2017, we reported 122 sales of yachts over 24 metres — including the 85.1 metre Solandge (pictured) which was sold by Moran Yacht & Ship in March. The overall total is broadly similar to the 124 reported during the same period last year, and up 8% on 2015’s figure of 113 sales.

Sailing yacht charters are booking up early

With limited supply on the market, those looking to enjoy a sailing yacht charter holiday should book early, according to Gina Robertson, charter broker at Fraser, who argues that American clients are more confident spending their money now that the uncertainty of the Presidential election has passed.

“I have personally seen an increase in interest and bookings of large sailing yachts in the Caribbean and the Med,” she reports. “Once experienced charterers realise that a 50 or 60 metre sailing yacht has the space and amenities of most motor yachts, including outdoor Jacuzzis and an impressive toy box, in addition to comfortable cruising, they are willing to give it a try, and are usually delighted.

“There is nothing like the sound of the waves swooshing past the hull as a gorgeous Perini Navi sails on majestically, the engines silenced.”

46 metre Antara (pictured above) is currently offered for charter with Fraser

Balearics leads the way for destinations

The recent advancements in yachting technology, coupled with improved infrastructure has led many to predict the rise of remote superyacht destinations, but for many, the Western Mediterranean still rules to roost, with the Balearic Islands proving particularly popular.

Anne Lebernicheux, charter broker at Edmiston, explains: “There is definitely a better mix of destinations every year, with places such as Indonesia, French Polynesia and Papua New Guinea enjoying more attention, but you can’t escape the fact that the Balearics, and specifically Ibiza still rule. A recent review of Edmiston brokers saw Ibiza as the hottest Med destination, followed by Sardinia, Mykonos and St Tropez.”

Robertson agrees, adding: “In just the past three years, ‎since matriculation tax has been reduced and the Spanish charter license has become easier to obtain, the number of charter yachts in Spain has increased from 33 to 124. Last week's successful MYBA show, held in Barcelona for the first time, featured 56 luxury motor and sailing yachts on display. It showcased the Balearics as the charter destination to see and be seen in this summer, especially attractive to clients who have explored most of the Med already. Quality yachts are cruising there, the infrastructure is excellent, and the region is relatively unspoiled.”

Photo: Od Talamanca

Tax hikes won’t halt Croatia’s rise

Another Mediterranean destination to see a recent uplift is Croatia, with many owners seeing the Balkan country as a safer alternative to Southern Turkey for exploring the Eastern Mediterranean. Recent changes to the local tax laws have given some pause for thought, but this is not a major hurdle to developing the superyacht market in this region, according to Robertson:

“A 13% VAT rate was instated on 1 May and embarking in Montenegro no longer has the advantage of 0% VAT for the duration of a charter, but this has not deterred clients from booking in to explore Croatia’s ancient cities, gorgeous national parks, and pristine waters.”

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