Yacht sailing on open waters

The last couple of years have seen sales thrown off-course; however, the yacht market has bucked the trend.

The yachting industry has seen unprecedented growth in luxury yachts for sale as the world’s wealthiest sought the safe and exclusive delights that a superyacht offers. As a result, leading yacht brokerages have recorded record sales figures, and 2021 was no exception.

A superyacht provides a self-sufficient sanctuary at sea – one that is exclusive and private, offering owners and their guests the ability to escape the crowds and go anywhere, whenever they please. Boasting all the amenities of a luxury resort coupled with flawless levels of service, a superyacht represents the ultimate lifestyle purchase for discerning individuals seeking to enjoy quality time on the water with friends and family.

Certainly, it’s not just the desire to escape the crowds that helped fuel the superyacht market in 2021. The number of wealthy individuals who can afford the world’s most luxurious vessels soared, with Forbes reporting that there were 400 new billionaires in 2021 with an estimated collective net worth of over US$1 trillion. The business magazine states there are now a record-breaking 2,600 billionaires globally. Finally, historically low interest rates in 2021  provided cheap capital, creating the perfect market for the yacht industry.


Record-breaking yacht sales

According to Ocean Independence, a leading yacht brokerage, due to increased demand and limited listings, yacht purchase was exceptionally buoyant in 2021.

“Sale times decreased with negotiations minimised, as it became apparent that buyers had to make swift and pragmatic decisions to secure their chosen yacht in the face of fierce competition,” Sales Director Toby Maclaurin said.

Global yacht brokerages saw a 72% increase in 2021 for yacht sales over 24-metres in length, while new yacht listings saw an increase of 16% compared to figures from 2020. As demand soared, so did prices. There were 33% fewer price reductions in 2021.

According to VesselsValue, a data firm specialising in commercial shipping, aviation, and superyachts, 887 superyachts were sold in 2021. This is compared to 500 superyacht sales in 2020 and 429 in 2019. VesselsValue notes that the only comparable year to 2021 was 2007, a year before the global financial crisis of 2008.

And it’s not just superyacht sales. The demand for superyacht management services and charter yachts also saw a surge.


Luxury yacht sales

Amongst the most expensive vessels sold in 2021 were the iconic 126.1-metre M/Y OCTOPUS, with an asking price of US$278 million; M/Y MAN OF STEEL (formerly SEVEN SEAS), an 86-metre Oceanco yacht with an asking price of US$150 million and now available for charter with Ocean Independence; and M/Y LADY MOURA, a 104.85-metre luxury Blohm+Voss yacht with an asking price of US$125 million.

New yacht sales also saw a significant uptick in 2021, boasting a 25% rise. The semi-custom market, particularly for yachts in the sub 45-metre range, became highly sought-after. This is likely because a semi-custom yacht has a significantly reduced delivery time compared to a full custom vessel. In 2021, there were 1,024 new yacht projects, either in build or on order. However, yacht brokers predict this trend will likely decline as shipyards are now working at capacity. Limited inventory and extended lead times are also making more owners consider a yacht refit.

There is no question that the future of yachting looks incredibly positive as interest in yacht ownership remains at an all-time high. For those seeking to make the ultimate lifestyle purchase, luxury yacht brokers can handpick a selection of the world’s finest yachts for sale, providing support during the acquisition stage, or offer full project yacht management for those seeking to build a semi-custom or custom yacht with the world’s most esteemed shipbuilders.