This month, SuperYacht Times is interviewing a range of industry leaders in the brokerage sector to find out their views on the 2018 superyacht market. Today we hear from Alex G Clarke, Senior Broker for Denison. Having played an intrumental part in expanding the company by establishing the Denison Yachting Charter Division, the Mexico office and Denison Superyacht Division, Clarke has come a long way from his first introduction to the industry as a deckhand.
In 2017, 284 30+ metre used yachts were sold. Similarly, in 2018, around 280 (to be confirmed) used yachts were sold. How does your sentiment of the market compare? Do you see that the market is stable or growing?
In 2018 Denison Yachting sold 45 yachts over 24-metres and represented the buyer in 24 of those transactions - which is almost 50/50 when comparing working with a buyer versus seller. These numbers are well up in comparison to 2017 where we sold 30 yachts over 24-metres - so we are slowly gaining market share which I feel will remain steady. Every broker has aspirations of selling a 60-metre+ but the consistent activity is seen in the 40-metre range which is what we are focusing on.Have you seen a shift in clients in the past year? For example, in nationality, age, gender or occupation - or any other observations you have noticed.
This past year I have had some very young clients buying yachts which I feel was due to the gains in stock market activity - in particular when Bitcoin was trading at high values, it made some people extremely wealthy almost overnight. I sold two 30-metre yachts last year due to that scenario.Photo: Kees TornWhat is your view on the pricing of yachts? Are there fewer reductions in the price of yachts for sale or are yachts sold closer to their asking prices?
The majority of yachts in the 30m+ segment are priced accurately and it is easy to see what is overpriced when comparing similar sold boat reports over the past 48 months (as an example take a look at the 55-metre Amels that are currently for sale and see what is priced accurately vs high).
Some brokers still tell a client they believe their yacht is worth more than it really is in order to secure a listing agreement, and then its just a matter of time until that big drop comes six to eight months after the yacht enters the brokerage market. To me, this is a waste of time but some owners like to test the market before accepting the reality check (especially with late model yachts).Photo: Bruno Buisson / SuperYacht TimesDo you see a particular market that is very popular right now? For example, yachts of a certain size, certain builder or age?
I love and have always been a big proponent of explorer yachts, especially after having sold both new construction and brokerage explorers. I feel it will continue to keep gaining popularity and there was a major growth in 2017-2018 where builders like Feadship launched true explorer yachts like Sherpa and the ice-classed Promise. Now even builders like Heesen offer an explorer yacht in their portfolio.
The industry leader Cantiere delle Marche has been extremely smart in focusing on the 24-45-metre segment of the market building very capable ‘pocket explorers’ in the $10-20million price range. This appeals to a broader demographic of potential buyers who are tired of ‘white boats’ and want something a little more capable with extended ranges and the ability to carry more tenders and toys. I love what they are doing and I have been involved with the co-founder of CdM Ennio Cecchini and naval architect Sergio Cutolo of HydroTec for over ten years now, both of which I would consider pioneers in the explorer market. It was only a matter of time until this picked up traction, so watch this space!Photo: Cantiere delle MarcheWhat are your expectations and predictions for the superyacht market in 2019? What are you looking forward to?
I have heard some concerns from clients that there could be a downturn in markets for 2019, but I still see it going strong even if the real estate market seems to slow, or interest rates are increased. For me the past three years have been pretty steady across the board and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Even with the volatility and inconsistencies with the DOW I think we will continue to see strong sales in 2019.
My personal goals for 2019 and for those of the Denison Super Yacht division would be to keep gaining market share. Denison tends to be off the radar for some of the ‘larger’ or European based brokerage firms but I think people are starting to take notice.
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