Will stimulus package spur boat sales?


While thinking about what I was going to say in today’s blog, associate editor Melanie Winters said she talked to someone at the Miami boat show who thought the rebates from the federal stimulus package would help consumers come up with a down payment for a boat.

I shrugged at that idea. As I told Melanie, it looked like the rebates would just about keep families afloat, never mind buy a boat. Melanie was more optimistic.

I did some research and found a headline in the Seattle Times that caught my attention. It read “Stimulus package opens window for high-end housing.”

Well, I immediately thought, that means the package can also open a window for buying a boat.

I read the story and learned that the publicity, alone, of the stimulus package was enough to spur a couple to look at buying a more expensive home, rather than buying a condo. The couple learned they could get a 30-year fixed mortgage for less that what they were paying on their homeowner’s dues.

A mortgage company said it has been receiving a steady stream of inquiries from clients.

The change in loan limits allows Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase the mortgages, encouraging them to write more mortgages because they can easily sell them to the housing agencies.

Under the newly enacted economic stimulus package, the companies will be permitted to finance loans as large as $729,750, up from $417,000, in an effort to stabilize the housing finance sector. The new loan levels vary based on each market's current home prices.

In Southern California, the limits were raised to the maximum $729,750 in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties, to $697,500 in San Diego County and to $500,000 in Riverside and San Bernadino counties.

Maybe there is hope and potential boat customers who have been shying away from making such a large purchase may not be so skittish, after all.

Having said that, I think the stimulus package cushions the blow for the middle class, but as one economist notes, a rise in the unemployment rate is likely in the next six months. Consumer spending is still low and the subprime lending crisis is ongoing.

Let’s see how all this plays out in the marine industry.

Share your thoughts; that way we can engage in a lively dialogue.

- Lois Caliri


Suzuki Powers Forest River’s New Nepallo Pontoon Boats

The new Nepallo line of pontoon boats with Suzuki engines will be sold at select Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors stores.

West Marine CEO to Keynote Annual MRA Event

With a “Climate for Change” theme, the Marine Recreation Association’s Educational Conference and Trade Show is set for Oct. 11-13.

Skeeter Owner’s Tourney Held on Lake Fork

A field of 2,000 anglers in 1,000 boats saw a nearly 10-pound bass capture first place in the annual Skeeter owner’s tournament.

Email Remains a Vital Marketing Tool for Dealers

A content marketing staple, emails can consistently deliver valuable and relevant information, if done correctly.

ABYC to Publish Largest-Ever Standards Manual

The nonprofit is offering pre-orders until June 18 of its updated standards manual, with a publication date of July 31.

Furuno, Simrad Add SiriusXM Fish Mapping Suite

The subscription-based service offers offshore anglers a suite of technology with which to locate and catch more fish.