U.S. brokerage sales in April were 1 percent lower than in the same month a year earlier, and through April they were off 3 percent, with 8,928 boats changing hands.
Powerboat sales declined during the four-month period by 4 percent, with 7,228 sold, but according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in SoldBoats.com the sailboat segment of the market increased its sales slightly, from 1,693 to 1,700.
The $1.1 billion aggregate price paid for boats sold through April was up 11 percent, a gain of $126 million that was largely attributable to sales of more expensive powerboats and sailboats in the superyacht sector — boats larger than 80 feet.
Among sailboats sold in 2013 through April the total value increased from $125.9 million to $173.4 million. Most of the value jump for sailboat sales was attributable to gains in the superyacht range, where eight yachts sold for $45.8 million, compared with two in the first four months of 2012 that sold for slightly more than $1 million.
Unlike the powerboat sector, however, the value of all sailboats sold below 80 feet also increased modestly, although not in every size range. Sales of sailboats from 56 to 79 feet were down by nearly two-thirds, and the aggregate price paid for the boats declined by a similar amount, from $8.4 million to $3.04 million. The aggregate price also declined in the under-26-foot range, by $806,000, a category in which sales were down sharply, from 203 to 149 boats.
By contrast, in the middle-size categories from 26 to 55 feet, values increased in all ranges, although mostly because of increased sales volume. Changes in average pricing were mixed. Boats 36 to 45 feet sold for a lower average price, down from $108,900 to $105,400, as did boats 46 to 55 feet, down from $229,600 to $222,400. The average price for boats 26 to 35 feet increased from $37,000 to $39,800.
During the first four months of 2012 sailboat sales represented 18 percent of U.S. brokerage sales volume and 12 percent of the total value. This year, those percentages have risen to 19 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
The average number of days that a sailboat was listed before selling increased slightly, compared with 2012, because of longer listing times for boats under 35 feet. Average times to sale declined among all larger sizes of sailboats, in contrast to the powerboat sector. Among powerboats, only boats larger than 80 feet were selling faster this year than in 2012.
John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue.