Originally published as a blog for AINsight for Aviation International News on 3/3/23
Let’s start with a simple role-playing game. Watching the clouds go by, you could either be sitting on the fence looking up at the puffy white clouds roll by overhead, or you could be at 40,000 feet above the ground watching the clouds below as you fly overhead at 500 miles per hour.
Our market is changing, no doubt about it. The frenzy of the last two and a half years is dying down. Buyers are worried that if they buy now, they will miss even better pricing as the headwinds of our economy and the sobering effects of more supply and longer days on the market create uncertainty. This dilemma is no easier for the sellers, who must grapple with negotiating again with buyers for the final acceptance price and terms of the plane they have for sale. The days of an aircraft hitting the market in the morning and having 10 full-price offers at lunch with bidding wars are over.
Don’t get me wrong, and this is a powerful point: The market has not and will not fall off a cliff. The pendulum is swinging from its pegged position of being a solid sellers’ market to landing in the middle and being a solid, balanced market. It is a market that will still yield higher than pre-pandemic prices but no longer increase by the month to unheard of prices. Sellers will still sell for better prices than in 2020 but will not get the peak 2022 pricing. Buyers will not be forced to overpay or lose out altogether if they do not get the offer in and accept terms that do not allow for a prebuy or have to forgo other practical and smart choices in the buying process.
We are watching a slowdown that I promise will serve us all positively and add back some practicality to our industry. I do not foresee the pendulum swinging all the way over to becoming a solid buyers’ market with prices tumbling. There is still too much demand remaining, even with the headwinds we can all feel around us. So if you wait too long to enter the market just waiting for that market dynamic to exist, you as a buyer may lose again. You will more than likely find that even with greater supply the better planes will sell out and you may have to make choices involving less than stellar pedigree and less than desirable maintenance or damage history that you would not want to inherit.
Timing is everything, and perspective is critical. Now back to the clouds. Sitting on the fence looking up at blue skies and watching the puffy clouds reminds me of days as a kid with big dreams; however, sitting in your jet flying above those clouds are dreams realized! The dream of being with your family traveling to far off places to explore or getting out ahead of your competition and in front of your client to make the sale. If you are afraid of getting back in the market too soon and leaving dollars on the table by overpaying, what you may be missing are the opportunities that you are not capitalizing on in the moment. It is clearly perspective. Fence sitting has its place but finding yourself stuck on the fence is no place to be when you could be enjoying life and growing your business and adding time to your life. See you in the skies above. It is a healthy market; come on back in.