Are Boats Built in the Recession Holding Their Value Better?

Something occurred to me when I was looking at motorhomes on Not that I’m in the market right now, but if I were, I’d be looking for something no more than about five years old, with as few miles on it as I could find.

While I was looking, I learned something. There are fewer RVs on the used market manufactured between 2008 and 2011. That’s because the merchants of greed on Wall Street cratered the world economy, sending demand for luxury items such as RVs into a downward spiral. Fewer RVs were made during those years, which means there are fewer used models available from that same period.

Fewer boats were built during the Great Recession. Are those boats -- now used -- holding their value better than boats built during boom years?
Fewer boats were built during the Great Recession. Are those boats — now used — holding their value better than boats built during boom years? Doug Logan photo.

Boats are luxury items, too, so I did some manipulative search techniques with different years before during and after the Great Recession, and the same thing is true of the used-boat market. There aren’t as many used models available built between 2008 and 2011.

As Adam Smith taught us, where supplies decrease, prices increase. I can’t say that will happen for sure just yet, but it could lead to used boats built just before or during that period to retaining more of their values, or at least mean sellers getting their asking prices more often than the “or best offer” they often have to take.

That’s probably a good thing for buyers trading in a gently-used boat. Dealers always want good-quality used boats, but if the manufacturing downturn during the Great Recession has the effect it should have, now they’re really going to want them.

It might not be a good thing for first-time buyers looking for those same gently-used models as a way to get into boating. The shortage of good used models might force their hand to a smaller new boat they won’t be as happy with, or — worse — an older boat that falls short of their expectations.

There’s no cause for alarm, but it’s a phenomenon that used-boat buyers, sellers, and dealers should all be aware of.


Boat Trader has plenty of  Buying and Selling advice, but also check out the hundreds of articles in the Boating section, with tips on everything from seamanship to maintenance, how-to, where to find replacement parts, and much more.


Written by: Brett Becker

Brett Becker is a freelance writer and photographer who has covered
the marine industry for 15 years. In addition to covering the ski boat
and runabout markets for, he regularly writes and shoots for Based in Ventura, Calif., Becker holds a bachelor’s
degree in journalism and a master’s in mass communication from the
University of Central Florida in Orlando.


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