Buyer’s market befuddles megayacht owners

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What is tougher than having one sleek megayacht for sale in a glutted market? The answer: having two megayachts on the market.

In boom times, yacht enthusiasts would order a new dream boat and keep their old one for the two or three years the builder needed to complete the new boat. Then they would sell the older yacht to new millionaires and billionaires eager for their requisite status symbols, The New York Times reported.

But that equation changed with the financial crisis two years ago and took the superyacht market down with it.

"It was a fool's paradise," Malcolm Maclean, editor at BoatInternational.com, a website that tracks the yacht industry, told the newspaper. Now, he said of the owners who cannot get rid of their boats, "They have caught very bad colds."

By one estimate, 300 new megayachts were sold annually worldwide from the mid-1990s until the 2008 collapse, when sales dropped to about 100 boats.

The industry has picked up a bit in recent months, although many buyers remain on the sidelines.

"The inquiry level is picking up," William S. Smith III, vice president of Trinity, the largest custom yacht builder in the United States, told The New York Times. "And there is more activity in the used-boat market. But there is still a lot of inventory, and as long as that is the case, people are keeping their hands in their pockets."

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