A new real estate market heats up for large boat
Apr. 29, 2007 10:00 PM
A shortage of dock space in South Florida and the Bahamas has launched a marina mega-business: purchasing slips to ensure harbor in chosen ports of call.
The move to acquire permanent dockage for large yachts first surfaced in Key West, where, at the end of 2006, Ginger Hornaday (www.gingerhornaday.com) sold a 200-foot slip for $2 million. “The market just took off overnight,” says Hornaday, a vivacious entrepreneur and real estate executive who first got hooked on yachting when, at 19, she walked down a dock at Bahia Mar, landed a job as a chef on a large boat, and never looked back.
Hornaday eventually parlayed her knowledge of yachting into a marketing niche, but she says, “Even five years ago I never thought I’d be selling dockominiums and yachtominiums.”
Dockominiums are distinguished as marina space for yachts 80 feet and under; yachtominium is the term coined for yacht slips larger than 80 feet.
With coastal properties vanishing due to expansive development, dockage is becoming more and more scarce, and, in many cases, yacht owners are being forced to scramble for desirable locations. Not only do yachts require a home port, they’re meant to travel, and thus require slips in many different venues. When there’s no room at the marina, it can put a real damper on plans and force changes in itineraries. With almost 800 yachts over 80 feet reportedly now under construction, Hornaday stresses that the shortage of prime spots in popular areas is likely to grow.
So what’s a yacht owner to do?
Yacht owners who favor particular areas of South Florida and the Bahamas are discovering the advantages of securing permanent marina space for their vessels – dockominiums or yachtominiums. “In the Caribbean,” says Hornaday, “the idea is newer and people are still adjusting to the concept.” But, she adds, for those who travel from South Florida to the Bahamas and/or the Caribbean, it makes sense to purchase yachtominiums in several locations. Then, yachtominium owners can schedule their preferences for stays in those areas and lease the space to other yachts while they’re traveling elsewhere.
“The marina business has changed radically over the last three years,” says Hornaday, largely due to developers purchasing valuable coastal properties. According to Hornaday, there’s currently more than $13 billion of approved developments in the Bahamas, with many developments planning to build marinas.
“It’s a trend that’s going to keep on growing,” says Hornaday. Yachtominiums and dockominiums have not only created a new market in real estate by offering yacht owners always-accessible dock space, they’ve brought new meaning – and convenience – to the concept of coastal living.