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Do Yamaha pianos increase in value?

The surprising answer can be “yes”! Yamaha pianos do sometimes increase in value but you have to know which model to buy and which to avoid. Read on and we’ll help you make a safe investment.

Do new pianos hold their value?

If you buy a brand new Yamaha, Steinway, Bosendorfer or any other respected brand the value will plummet by 20% as soon as you take it home as it instantly goes from “new” to “used” and it will continue to decrease steadily for a few years more but if you buy a used or reconditioned Steinway or Yamaha piano it doesn’t suffer the same initial hit because the intense depreciation has already happened, somebody else took that hit for you.

Which models best hold their value?

If you buy an entry-level piano you can be sure that it will not be in high demand 10-20 years down the line. That means you will either have to wait a long time to sell it or be prepared to sell for a low price. If you buy a top quality model, such as the evergreen Yamaha U3 or U1, then you can be sure that it will hold its value very well because people will always be looking to buy those models.

There are around 100 Yamaha U3s in a prestigious UK boarding school and we sold 10 Yamaha U3s to leading girls’ boarding school. Those students, and many thousands more, have grown up learning on these famous models and so when they come to buy a piano for their family home in the future they will be scouting around for the same models. That’s why the best models hold their value so well.

Real-life examples

  • In 2006 we sold a 1980 Yamaha U3 to Pamela from London for less than £2500. Today that piano is worth 75% more.
  • In 2010 we sold a 1978 Yamaha U3 to Russell from Northampton for £2940. Today that same piano is worth 43% more.
  • In 2012 we sold a 1981 Yamaha U3 to John from Sevenoaks for £3490. That same piano would now be worth 25% more.

As you can see the best time to buy a top quality “as new” Yamaha piano was yesterday but the 2nd best time to buy is today. See our pianos for sale page to see what we have available.

What causes the value to rise?

There are several factors. Let’s have a look:

  1. Exchange rate: In 2006 £1 would buy 208 Japanese Yen. In 2018 £1 only buys 148 Yen. That’s a drop of 29% which means piano shops have to spend 29% more to buy the same price piano today compared with 2006. [update: as of 2023 you can now get around 160 Yen for £1. So you can see that it swings and this impacts Yamaha piano value significantly.
  2. Supply: There is only a finite supply of used pianos in Japan. As supply gets tighter prices are squeezed higher
  3. Demand: There are now more piano shops trying to buy these sought-after models from Japan. New demand from Chinese importers has also added to the demand. China produces millions of cheap acoustic pianos every year but their emerging middle-classes demand a top quality product so they look to Japanese-made Yamaha pianos.

So which Yamaha piano should I buy?

To get the best chance of great return I recommend that you follow these tips:

  • Buy a Yamaha piano that is more than 10-15 years old so that someone else paid for the initial depreciation.
  • Choose a piano that was made in Japan as these have the best reputation and hold their value really well.
  • Choose a Yamaha pianos that has either been fully reconditioned or is very cheap so that you can afford to pay for it to be reconditioned. A piano in need of extensive work won’t hold its value well.
  • Look after your piano. You should have it tuned every 6 months, regulated every 12 months and try to look after the cabinet.

What’s the catch?

Everything written above is true. A properly reconditioned Japanese Yamaha piano really does go up in value over the years. You will have to bear in mind that a piano shop will always be able to sell a piano for a higher price than a private seller because the shop will usually bundle in things like free delivery, stool, tuning along with the reassurances of a guarantee.

So the catch is that whilst the underlying value of Yamaha pianos increases, it is very difficult for a private seller to sell a piano for the same price as a piano shop. Why? Because the piano shop can provide free delivery , free tuning, warranty, moneyback guarantee. Private sellers can’t provide those things so they have to lower the price in order to attract buyers.

Buy from us and we may be able sell for you in future

Every now and again a previous customer will approach us and ask us to sell their piano from our showroom. We are often happy to do that and our service includes preparing the piano for sale with tuning, regulation, new parts where necessary and polishing out any scratches or dents. We are normally able to sell the piano within 2-3 months which gives the owner a very easy way to sell their piano. You can read more about this service on our Piano sale or return page. We do not guarantee being able to make an offer for your piano, it all depends on factors such as stock levels, available space, and whether the country is in recession or not. But if we can make an offer, we will.

Thanks for your time
Mark and Julie Goodwin