No one really knows why, or can point to a definite reason for the cause, but the effect is clear to see; the sales of superyachts are booming
Many believe that sales of superyachts are flourishing as billionaires, splurge millions on luxury vessels in an attempt to outwit the pandemic. Others believe it is just a general loosening of the purse strings following years of restraint when it comes to buying a yacht.
No matter what, Fraser Yachts claim that, with sales of superyachts increasing by more than 85 per cent in the first nine months of this year, 2021 is significantly outperforming any of the last 12 years. Sales are up 122 per cent on average. Azimut Benetti, the Italian yacht builder, said it is North American clients that have been driving the demand, with the “real boom” starting last spring.
When compared with the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, there is no doubt that the multimillion-dollar global superyacht industry is rebounding quickly after its near paralysis at the start of the pandemic.
Chaotic Brokerage Market
“It’s so chaotic at the moment that I feel like a fisherman during a salmon run catching fish with a bare hook.” One senior sales broker told us. Adding, “It’s good… but not sustainable and the clients are not pausing to check that they are buying the right product at the right price.” Rather frighteningly, he concludes, “I’m seeing a lot of clients buying new yachts without really understanding what they are getting and that’s going to lead to disappointment.”
The increasing number of sales of superyachts are not just confined to new yachts. A 60 metre Dutch built superyacht changed hands in under a week from first going on the market. “That’s an insane speed for a 60 metre European built project,” said the salesman who brokered the deal. Heesen the Dutch superyacht builder delivered a 50+ metre superyacht in Autumn of 2020. By May of the following year, she was sold to “crazy Russians who came along and offered too much to turn down.”
London based superyacht brokerage Burgess recently announced its own sales of superyacht success. It has sold four yachts in seven days – amounting to over 166m in total length and just under 65million EUR in total value (last known asking price).
Interestingly, the yachts sold encapsulate the truly global nature of the company, with teams in Asia, Palma, New York and Monaco each securing a sale. Jonathan Beckett, CEO comments, “The past 13/14 months have been pretty extraordinary – almost relentless in the sales market. Yachts have been selling at really good prices and talks of ‘COVID deals’ was quite honestly a myth.”
The Superyacht Group based in London suggest that, “More than 200 new superyachts were launched this year up to September, a figure up from 165 in the same period of 2019, and there are orders for 330 to be built before 2023.” While Forbes’s report that there are 2,755 billionaires worldwide, a rise of 660 compared with last year. The publication said that a “staggering 86 per cent are richer than a year ago.”
According to the luxury lifestyle magazine Boat International, “Wealthy people have so far spent more than £1bn on superyachts in 2021 as they seek to escape Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions. The trend towards buying superyachts, which started in the summer of 2019, is the hottest sales streak on record and that the surge is set to make this year the biggest yet in terms of second-hand sales.
Not everyone is happy. One charity is appalled and described the expenditure on superyachts as obscene and a sign of a world that has got its priorities badly wrong. Pointing out that with so much wealth around and with so many poor countries unable to get the vaccines they need to protect their people, Max Lawson, head of inequality policy at Oxfam, told the BBC, “The £1bn spent in the last year by billionaires on superyachts is more than the cost of fully vaccinating a country like Nepal, where Covid is inflicting a terrible toll.