The General Aviation rumor mill is alive and well. Just like the old-timers who used to sit in the airport lounge swapping stories and analyzing landings, the Internet forums are chock full of “experts” who all have an opinion. One of the latest crazes is the “huge” increase seen in many aircraft values. Ever since AOPA ran a story recently on older 172 prices (and many of them have seen significant gains) a lot of folks are led to believe their winged-wonder has gone up in value too. Oh, if that were only the case.
Here’s a look at a sampling of 15 year-old singles, twins, and turboprops. All are 2004 models. Many have seen zero price change (according to Vref) in the last 12 months while others have seen modest gains, the highest of which is the 172S at 3.4%. That is contrasted by the ‘04 Cirrus SR20 which is down 4.17%.
% Change in Last 12 Months
Make no mistake though, airplanes are selling, and a few select year models are selling fast. Inventories for many planes are at all-time lows. Owners are flying more, flight schools training more, and businesses using them more. On the flip side there are fewer and fewer pilots every year, fuel seems to have bottomed out and prices are on the rise, and historically low insurance rates are creeping up again. Each one of these forces counters another and keeps the system in balance.
So, while valuations may be creeping up on some, there’s no rational reason to believe you should cash in your portfolio and invest in used airplanes. Nor is there an immediate reason to believe your plane will lose any significant value in the short-term. It really gets down to the reason to own a general aviation airplane in the first place…enjoyment. As long as you love owning — and can afford to do so — then why not keep your plane? But, if you think a knight-in-shining-armor is going to ride in and make you a ridiculous offer, well, you should probably keep your eyes closed and enjoy the dream while it lasts.
If you’re curious what the data shows for your airplane give us a call. We’d love to visit with you.