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 Kevin Merrigan, who is CEO at Northrop & Johnson, as well as President of their Fort Lauderdale, San Diego and France offices. Northrop & Johnson had a strong year in 2018, from the sale of the refitted Feadship 55.75-metre Illusion I (ex: Illusion) in March to the sale of the 60-metre Lürssen superyacht Podium in November.Photo: Northrop & Johnson
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?
The sales market has been relatively stable for the last few months, growing slightly if anything, mainly due to the fact that there are greater numbers of newer yachts coming onto the market. At Northrop & Johnson, we have also witnessed an increase in the demand for charter. We have seen from previous experience that when the demand for charter increases so too does the realisation that a small proportion of those charterers turn their heads to ownership. Photo: Benoit DonneHave 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.
We certainly have. Our clients are getting younger (or else it feels that way as I am getting older!) On the purchase side, we are seeing a trend in clients that have exited their business, or are slowing down, and can devote more time and resources to yachting - either moving in to yachting or moving up. For charter, we are seeing much younger clients that simply enjoy the lifestyle, freedom, safety, and adventure that a superyacht provides.
What is your view on the pricing of yachts? Are there fewer reductions in price or are yachts sold closer to their asking prices?
Yachts generally sell at market value. There are so many variables - seller’s desired pricing, buyer’s desired pricing, the condition of a yacht, class survey, paint, seller’s motivation, buyer’s motivation, holding cost, location. We give guidance and comparable sales pricing, but each situation is unique. Reductions occur when the seller wants to find the market.
Photo: FraserDo you see a particular market that is very popular right now? For example, yachts of a certain size, certain builder or age?
The newer the better. There is a good market across the board, size wise. Younger, well-maintained yachts, accurately priced, will always find a buyer.
Photo: Tom van Oossanen / SuperYacht TimesWhat are your expectations and predictions for the superyacht market in 2019? What are you looking forward to?
I look forward to N&J leading the market... again. We have been focused on improving our IT systems so that we are in a better position to deliver our clients a seamless and enjoying experience. We will continue to make the charter and sales process as simple and enjoyable as possible. I believe the market will continue its steady growth as more and more people discover the joys of yachting.
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