With one quarter of the year in the rear-view mirror, the pre-owned market enters one of its historically busier quarters, and with some key economic indicators showing improvement, this year may be setting up to be busier than many recent ones. So many aircraft values have done nothing but fall for nearly five years. Now some are showing signs of resisting that perennial trend. A number of segments continue to edge ever closer toward right pricing, but others have fallen so far that they are beginning to move quickly.
Finding a pricing floor for many models has been as elusive as the search for Atlantis, but recent market action is giving hope to underwater sellers. The typical summer plumping of inventory never occurred this year, setting the stage for what could be an active wave of buying in the final quarter.
Business aircraft sales firm Jetcraft is “seeing clear evidence” of a return to a more stable pricing environment for large-cabin, long-range business jets. “There has been a significant reduction in the gap between buyer and seller price expectations, due in part to the reduction of distressed assets that flooded the market in late 2008,” noted company co-owner Jahid Fazal-Karim.
Attractive pricing persists on many popular models despite a continued tightening of inventory to its lowest level since peaking less than two years ago.
The eye-popping total of 2,750 pre-owned aircraft for sale today is a lot based on historical standards, but it is well below the peak reached a little more than a year ago. The broker community and OEMs monitor the total number of aircraft for sale because it is an important measurement on which to gauge the health of the used aircraft market, but when you scratch beneath the surface you realize that the sky is not falling.
Used aircraft prices have gone parabolic since last year, first launching to lofty heights only to arc back down to earth. While the drop began just before last year’s NBAA Convention, at the show aircraft purveyors had that deer-in-the-headlights look as they shook their heads in disbelief as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,000 points during the three-day event, punctuating the beginning of a year-long correction in pricing.