Ending the year on a downward trend, U.S. yacht brokerages sold 1,479 boats in December, a 6 percent decline from the same month a year earlier.
December was the second month in a row with lower sales volume, according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in their Soldboats.com proprietary database.
Volume was lower in three of the last four months of 2012 and the year closed only slightly ahead of 2011 after a promising first half. Sales were up 2 percent, with 29,444 boats sold, and the aggregate price paid was $3.3 billion, down 2 percent from the previous year.
The good news for brokers who closed sales in December was that the total price paid for all boats sold was $352 million, an increase of 83 percent from December 2011. As is usually the case when the total value spikes, a number of larger, expensive yachts changed hands.
The number of powerboats sold in December decreased by 5 percent, to 1,160, compared with December 2011, but the aggregate price paid was up 96 percent, at $321 million. Sailboat sales were 10 percent lower, but the total value increased in this category by 7 percent, with $32 million in sales.
Growth in sales was reported in two size categories. The 36- to 45-foot category rose by 1 percent, with 344 boats sold, and the over-80-foot category was up 56 percent with 14 superyachts sold.
As they were in November, the smallest size categories were hit the hardest. Sales of boats under 26 feet were down 9 percent, with 390 sold, and 26- to 35-footers were down 8 percent, with 576 boats sold. Values were lower by similar amounts in these categories, by 9 percent and 6 percent, respectively. In contrast, despite the 1 percent increase in closings among 36- to 45-footers, the total price declined by 16 percent, to $50 million.
A detailed report summarizing recent U.S. brokerage sales will appear in the February issue of Soundings Trade Only.
— John Burnham
YachtWorld.com editorial director