Single Engine Piston Market Looks Stable into 2012


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Amid continued economic pressure and anemic numbers of student pilots the single engine piston market looks to remain stable into 2012.

After falling for almost 9 years, prices for single engine piston aircraft bottomed out starting in 2009, according to data from Aircraft Bluebook, and have slowly been climbing since, now having recovered about 2.5%. Transactions for singles are increasing too, up 25% in 2011.

Continued growth of the market however, will likely be dependent on continued US GDP growth, general economic recovery (i.e. jobs) and fuel prices remaining in check. This is supported by data and analysis from Jetnet. General Aviation will also need to continue to work on increasing the student pilot population that was looking stronger in 2010 but again took a dip in 2011.

With any luck, increased transactions and continued price stability will get more buyers into the market. Buyers who have been waiting for rock bottom bargains may start to get off the fence before prices begin to recover significantly. If the US does see continued economic recovery in 2012 more pilots may be in a position to afford an aircraft and start to search. Other regulatory factors, such as user fees, may have a negative impact, though the likelihood of such fees is low. Additionally it will be interesting to see 2012 registration data now that the FAA has implemented mandatory  re-registration. An unknown number of aircraft may be removed from the market.

Although new aircraft shipments are down for 2011 the used aircraft market will not see significant price increases as demand remains flat and supply is steady. The overall market factors have not changed in this regard since 2000.

What this means for most sellers is simple: We are still in a buyers market but it is at least stable. Sellers have to be smart about pricing their aircraft and good at marketing. As always if you have a well priced aircraft that looks great there will likely be a buyer for your airplane.

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