Sales of luxury boats far from sunk: dealers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 November, 1998, 12:00am

Boat dealers say many people are still keen to spend large amounts on the craft of their dreams despite the faltering economy.

While belt-tightening has driven prices down and hit the second-hand market hard, top-of-the-range speedboats and yachts remain popular.

Robin Wyatt, sales manager at Simpson Marine at Aberdeen, said there were still buyers for boats costing from US$100,000 (HK$774,000) to several million US dollars.

'It's not as bad as people make out. We have been quite active in the past few months,' he said.

'We had a very good year immediately after the handover. Prices have come down a bit, but otherwise it's business as usual.' Mr Wyatt had expected to see yacht sales fall after the handover with the departure of many high-flying expatriates.

But locals had been taking an increasing interest and had several yachts on order.

Sales are not so swift at Jubilee Marine Brokerage, based in the Far East Consortium Building, Yau Ma Tei, which deals mainly in second-hand boats.

'Because of the economic crisis, business has dropped very much for the past six months,' spokesman Johnny Lee said. 'Almost everything has stopped. There's a lot of people selling, but no one is buying.' Mr Lee said he sold second-hand junks and small cruisers for an average price of about $2 million.

David Porter, of boat dealer Barbara Karran Co, North Point, said the exodus of Westerners had hit yacht sales, but powerboats were still popular.

'Prices are certainly down by a bit - some boats retain their value regardless. But generally they're down about 30 per cent on last year,' Mr Porter said.