It hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention that we live in very different times and we are being bombarded with news from all directions about some sort of crisis somewhere – usually financial.

With the largest number of brokerage offices (55) and the largest number of boats for sale (currently 2334), it’s fair to say that Boatshed has a pretty good insight into the general health of the used boat market – particularly when it comes to selling a boat in London.

The reality is, and this is confirmed by many of my colleagues in other Boatshed offices, that boats are selling and, in many cases, there is a shortage of boats to sell to eager and willing buyers from both the UK and overseas. How can that be, I hear you all ask? “Surely we are in the depths of gloom and money tightening never seen since the Great Depression?” (or words to that effect).

Pulling together some key indicators provides some reasoning to the continuing demand for secondhand boats:

Bank interest savings rates are at an all time low of 0.31% (Source: Bank of England) and have been at almost the same level for every month of the last year or so.

A recent survey (July 2011) shows consumer trust in banks is at an all time low. 59% of respondents did not trust banks to give good financial advice and even the best scoring bank in the survey (HSBC) came top of the league table with just 14% of the vote (Source: PR Week) .

Overseas holiday bookings have declined sharply with the number of Britons deciding to take a holiday overseas declining from 36% to 31% in the space of just a couple of months. The figure for those taking a domestic break remained static at 14%

So, what has that got to do with buying and selling boats? The truth is that those with savings to enjoy are willing to enjoy them and buying a secondhand boat is seen as a reasonable investment. They are getting next to nothing interest on their savings and they don’t trust the banks with their money anyway. The appetite for expensive overseas holidays is declining and not just for financial reasons but lack of time, travel delays and everything associated with packing up the family to travel to far away destinations. A boat is seen as a good alternative to package or overseas holidays with the advantage that a lot of gear can be left onboard, its available anytime (in most cases) and if there is time and weather is good, then an extended cruising holiday can be taken almost ‘at will’. In the meantime a boat provides a very nice place for weekend breaks even if there is not time to go anywhere far from its berth.

For those who are attracted by the live-aboard lifestyle, and particularly for those here in London, waterside living is increasingly being seen as a cost-effective, affordable and fun alternative to living in a conventional property. We are seeing interest in live-aboards soar to levels never seen before. From £25k narrowboats to exotic £750k Dutch barges, demand is outstripping supply. We are also inundated with enquiries about project boats and sailing yachts in the £15-35k price band.

A common misconception amongst boat owners reluctant to sell is that the market is at rock bottom and they are fearful of having to sell their much-loved boat at a knock down, give away price.

The only cautionary note to add is that the same adage is as true now as it ever has been - ‘good boats that are realistically priced and well presented will sell’. Buyers are meticulous in their choice and cautious with their savings so it is vital that the yacht is well presented for sale, paperwork is all in order and there are receipts to back up major item purchases. Without this, buyers will have every reason to start to chip away at the asking price.

If you are considering selling then do please give Boatshed London a call. We are happy to provide a valuation for your boat and our sales commission is competitive and always on a ‘no sale no fee basis’. You might be surprised what can be achieved – but then since we have the largest database of registered buyers in the country (440,000) maybe you’d expect us to achieve a satisfactory sale for you as we did for over 1,000 boats last year.

Thinking of Selling Your Boat?

Boatshed London can help you prepare your boat for sale and can have it on the market within days available to Boatshed’s own database of over 440,000 registered users. We display up to 80 large photographs and, as always, we sell boats on a ‘No Sale, No Fee’ basis. Boats are also listed on the Yachtworld and Apollo Duck websites at no extra cost to the vendor.

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