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Pre-Owned Aircraft Sales Trends

A look from both ends of the spectrum. While one late model Gulfstream IV-SP business jet aircraft for sale sold above asking price- another dealer reported the asking price on his Beech 55 Baron is less than the bank note – what a dichotomy GA is right now! The best market in history- and the worst - and often parked on the same ramp.

Trends - which began in late 2003 for the turbine market- and September 2001 for most pistons - continue unabated. It’s two different worlds listening to two different Wolf Blitzers. Late model jet buyers obviously see a bright future with huge demand for long range travel – they’re probably not TV watchers at all. Piston twin buyers must be watching a much scarier situation- because they’re staying away from the airport.

Threat Level- News Alert- Developing Story – Walter Cronkite wouldn’t have talked like that if an alien spaceship had landed. Piston Singles Real or perceived- the Piston Singles segment is facing many challenges that are changing the industry – some bad- some good. The bad – fuel prices and the costs of operating aging airplanes – has been thoroughly belabored. The good – dozens of new airplanes for sale- LSAs and personal jets – all with dazzling avionics. Take a look at the glass panel being offered by Garmin for the homebuilt market. That helps explain why steam gauges are often referred to as boat anchors.

Most (not all) dealers reported better than expected activity- but lower than expected prices for the late Summer months. Buyers continue to offer less and pay less for the average piston airplane for sale  – single or twin. You don’t see too many low-time airplanes with new aircraft avionics anymore - because they don’t stay on the market very long. The price changes this quarter are small- but a noticeable downtrend continues for most of the fleet. Downsizing from twins does not seem to be helping the complex single market.

Beech A36 Bonanzas are soft - unsurprisingly older models are worse than newer ones; F33As and V35Bs are also down but not as much. The Bellanca Viking is soft; while Cessna 152s are good and prices up. Older 172s are flat; but late model Skyhawks have seen prices move up. And there’s strong activity with Cessna 180s single piston airplanes for sale- 185s and 206s; while for 182s there is some activity- but prices are down- and late models are dealing with crankshaft issues. 210s are off slightly.

Cirrus SR20 airplanes for sale and SR22s are off sharply- while older Mooneys are quiet with little change in price. Mooney turbos seem better. Piper Cubs are up again- but Piper Comanche singles are pulling in few calls. Warriors are good; Cherokee 180s and Archers are down as are all Arrows. Dakotas- 235s and Lances are all flat- although the market is good if the aircraft is clean and ready to go. Saratogas were slightly down- but leveling out - and there’s good demand for Malibus with good pedigrees.

Twin Piston Engine Aircraft for Sale
There is a lesson in the twin piston engine airplanes for sale market: Excellence sells! More than one totally refurbished Navajo Chieftain has traded in the $1m range. However- most twins fall into the ‘average’ category- and average has been proving a tough sell.

Beechcraft 55 Barons are plentiful in the marketplace- while 58s are off again - and pre-1984 models seem worse. Cessna 310s- meantime- are seeing small changes (they may not have been as over-inflated as some twins); but 340s and 414s- are all down. Piper Twin Comanches and Aztecs are very poor markets and prices are down- while Seneca Is and IIs are also down again. Seneca IIIs- IVs and Vs are not as bad though- with prices mostly flat. Finally- the piston Twin Commander market is slow.

Business Turboprops for Sale
‘Very Strong!’ is the report from just about everyone in the business turboprop aircraft for sale market. As a group- turboprops have clearly appreciated more consistently than any other segment. King Airs led the way in 2003- and are still the market leader. King Air C90 aircraft for sale- E90s and F90s are all up again- B200s are very strong - especially 1985-1990 models- while 300s are up. 350s are a great market and prices are stable.

Elsewhere- Cessna Conquest Is are attracting plenty of interest- and all prices are up; Conquest IIs are still moving up; Fairchild Merlin IIIBs are up after a long drought; but MU-2s are still down.

Pilatus PC-12s are way up - and there’s a two-year backlog for new ones. TBMs are good- with no change- although Piper Meridians are flat. Piper Cheyenne Is and IIs are stable; IIXL prices are up; IIIs & IIIAs are flat; and 400LS are enjoying a good market - no change. Twin Commanders have also seen no change.

Business Jets for Sale
If activity was this good in July- it ought to be excellent from September and beyond. The weak dollar is giving buyers outside the US a lot for their money- fueling a boom time for medium to large cabin airplanes. Late model airplanes continue to set record prices. Buyers want to own it and fly it now!

Here’s the breakdown: Beechjets are experiencing some activity- but prices remain flat; Premier Is are down; Bombardier Challenger 300s are very tight; and 601-3As are improving with activity up. Challenger 604s are very active- late model prices are up. Global Express business jet aircraft for sale prices are way up except single digit serial numbers. Cessna Citation Is and IIs are plentiful and activity is down- but all CJs are incredibly good - in fact CJ2s have never been this hot! Bravos can be a tough sell without an engine program while Ultras and Vs are flat. Citation Encore jets for sale are seeing little activity although Excels are good - and you can’t find an XLS. Citation IIIs are down- while VIs and Citation VII corporate aircraft for sale are stable. Sovereigns continue to be strong and Citation Xs are seeing good activity- although prices stay unchanged.

Falcon 10s and 20s are a tough sell; Falcon 2000s- on the other hand- are looking good - and 2000EXs are very scarce. Falcon 50s and 50EXs have very few late models for sale and the 900EX is putting upward pressure on the 900B. Unsurprisingly- the 7X is very strong.

Gulfstream II jet aircraft for sale and IIIs are dealing with noise issues- while the GIV is up. Late model GIV-SPs can bring more than asking price- and G450s and GVs show no supply - prices consequently are up. G550s are still good- with new delivery dates currently out at 2011. Hawker 800s are flat; 800XPs are good and prices stable- and Westwinds are flat. Finally- Learjet 40 prices are down; Lear 55s are down and Lear 45s and 60s are flat.

Closing Thoughts
Someone once said that if the U. S. Economy gets the sniffles- China gets the flu. While this may not be as true today- recent Stock Market fluctuations did make some of us a little queasy. When the Stock Market has an ugly day- the 24-hour news channels spin it into a planet-busting apocalypse.

However- every aircraft dealer of late generation turbine airplanes indicates that demand remains high. In fact- some – including us - have called this the best market in history. An end to that might be somewhere over the horizon- but it is not yet in sight.

More information from www.vrefpub.com or www.VrefOnline.com

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