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Superyacht brokers see a turn in the selling tide

The broker who is looking to sell the 284-foot superyacht Cakewalk is finding buyers harder to come by — a trend in the superyacht marketplace that bears watching.

The U.S.-built Cakewalk has six sundecks, a baby grand Steinway & Sons piano and vast Italian marble his- and-hers bathrooms and has been on the market for three years.

At last week’s Monaco Yacht Show, the asking price for Cakewalk dropped to $151 million (or 119 million euros), a fifth less than in 2011.

The bait might have worked.

“The market is moving again,” Jonathan Beckett, CEO of the brokerage Burgess, told Bloomberg. “We’ve got a number of interested parties.”

The discounted price illustrates the cyclical nature of the yacht business. After a protracted slump that followed the 2008 financial crisis, the market for the biggest boats is improving, shipbuilders, brokers and outfitters at the annual trade fair said.

Much like the mainstream recreational boat market, the drying up of new-yacht orders during the downturn was followed by a period of lower prices, and even fire sales for second-hand, mid-range models.

The adjustment to Cakewalk’s asking price indicates that even the top end of the market wasn’t spared. The tide is now turning. Shipyards boast new orders for the biggest models and prices are hitting bottom.

“The U.S. market is coming back,” said Robert Moran, president and founder of Moran Yacht & Ship, which is based in Fort Lauderdale. “It went very quiet for a while because it wasn’t seen as being politically correct to own a yacht, but these guys are back.”

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