Should You Buy A New Boat Now?

By Jeff Hammond, Co-Founder, BoatTEST Publishing

With the stock market whipsawing investors, and a degree of economic uncertainty in the air, is now the time to buy a new boat?

Having been an observer of boat sales--and prices--since 1969 I have seen a pattern repeated no fewer than four times during the last 30 years. It is simply this:

In difficult economic times many consumers typically delay new boat purchases. That drives prices down for inventory in the distributor pipeline.

New Boat Prices Are Dropping
Now, and for the next several months you will be able to make the best deals on a new boat purchase. There will be a window of great deals, and we are in it right now.

...But They Will Go Higher
Great deals won’t last more than several months. Why? Because boat builders have already cut back on production for next year, and once the boats in the pipeline are sold, the new boats will be more expensive. Elastic production and white-collar staff have been or will be laid off, leaving fixed expenses that cannot be contracted. That overhead expense will now be spread over fewer units. That will force prices up.

After every recession boat prices end up being higher than before. And the people who delayed their boat purchases simply waited to pay more.

Buy Low....Sell Higher Than If You Waited
Rising new-boat prices lift used-boat prices for the same brand and type, so when you buy in times like these you get the benefit of low prices now, and the higher new boat prices in the out-years pull up the value of your used boat more than would have happened otherwise. In times like these you can make out on both ends of the transaction!

I’m sure over the years you have heard some boat owners brag that they sold their boats for more than they paid, or who owned boats for five years or so and sold for nearly what they paid. Invariably those are boatmen who bought when others waited.

So, if you are in the market for a good deal on a boat, or if you want to minimize your boat’s depreciation over four or five years, there is no better time to buy a new boat than right now.

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