Financing has loosened up a bit. Key Bank is back in the game, BOA writing loans on 6 years on newer. CU are financing boats locally. This is key to selling boats.
However, did it ever really drop off for the +$200k market? From where I sit Cig, Nortech, OL don't seem to really have any issues. Their customers don't need financing, and if you want to finance $400k you need to show a bank that you don't need it, you have that liquid anyway.
In 1999 I bought a 1 year old demo Baja 29' Outlaw SST, twin 454 merc bravo boat for $55k from a dealer. I was out the door for less that $70k with tax and trailer, I did the app over the phone on a thursday and picked up my boat with ID and a signature on Friday. Wow times have changed. 3% a year from then til now makes that boat $81,000 before trailer.
I spoke with an un-named boat builder about two weeks ago. We were chewing the fat. He has the molds of a mid-level boat company that went out of business. He is excited to be putting together a 29' (with swim plat) so 27.5 single engine boat with an 8.2ho for a low low price of $159,999!!! He tried convinced me this is the market leader at that MSRP. Really?
Something has to change, the pricing on new boats has not risen with the same curve as everything else. So many mid to entry level boats are not in production. New boat sales are becoming an exclusive, like the Ferrari/Lambo club.
My prediction, if something does not change soon, the performance boats of the 90's to the 2000's will turn into the next muscle car type market, and every one will go up in value. We wreck, destroy, abuse, sink, the boats that are out there now, and new affordable ones are not being made. The total number of boats avaiable in the 50-120k range goes down every day, and they are not being replaced with new ones. Who would have thought your 10 year old 35ft speed boat could go up in value, don't look now, it just may