Retail boat prices stabilize

CHICAGO — Lenders, and others who help them to track collateral values, are beginning to see a firming of prices in retail boat sales, according to a recent release from the National Marine Bankers Association.

The process of establishing collateral values has been complicated in the past several years in similar ways to the real estate market as both have been impacted by overhangs in inventory, borrowers unable to keep up with payments, property and product aging and impact on condition, and values influenced by general economic trends and regional factors, the press release states.

Tom Fournier, content manager of Price Digests, which track pricing on a number of new products, states, “Beginning this spring, we saw the market for used boat sales start to thaw and have adjusted many boat values upward for the first time in memory. Supply and demand seem to be in better balance. As the repossessions and bank sales dwindle we seem to be heading for a more normal market. Boats appear to be in stronger hands now – both by those who produce and sell them and consumers who own and may be looking to acquire something new.”

“We believe this is another recovery point in the cycle of availability of credit from lenders and interest in borrowing to buy a boat by consumers,” explains Karen Trostle, president of the National Marine Bankers Association. “If we can move these forces in tandem and away from the malaise of banks’ very strict credit guidelines and buyers low desire to finance or refinance a boat purchase, it could signal a return to stronger activity by all involved in the transaction. For consumers especially, this could be the ‘sweet spot’ of best interest rates and boat prices for seasons to come.”

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