Brokerage sales post year-to-year gains

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Brokerage boat sales across the United States showed impressive growth in November compared to November 2008, according to data reported by YachtWorld.com brokerages. The improved sales figures reflect improved economic conditions and continue a trend that began last summer, but the scale of the increase was greater than might have been expected: Unit sales grew 60 percent, from 1,191 boats to 1,908 boats, and valuation of all boats sold increased by 80 percent to $222 million.

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In Florida, the largest market for brokerage boats in the country, yacht brokers' unit sales were up a proportionately greater amount compared to the previous November, by 67 percent, or 439 boats, while total valuation increased slightly less on a percentage basis: 56 percent, or $83.5 million. Through 11 months, Florida's unit sales have mirrored the national numbers, and with increases every month since May, unit sales year-to-date are now virtually flat. Valuations, however, are down 18 percent nationally and even more in the Florida market, which is off 22 percent in 2009.

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Smaller boats have sold the best all year, with boats under 26 feet as the strongest category, up nearly 900 boats. Midsize boats have shown the next best improvement, and large boats have lagged. But in November, all size ranges showed significant improvement, and nationally, boats from 46 to 55 feet showed increased sales of more than 100 percent - 130 boats compared to 62 a year earlier.

In the largest size category, more than 55 feet, sales averaged more than $1 million per boat, and unit sales were up 48 percent to 49 boats; boat valuation improved by 68 percent to $58 million. As in the past, the Florida market was a significant driver of big-boat sales, selling about half of these large boats for more than half of the dollars ($38 million).

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For brokerage boats sold in November, the average time to sale of 271 days was slightly lower than in October and moved closer to the norm of 250 days for this time of year in 2007 and 2008. Beating the market, Florida brokerage sales averaged nearly the same time to sale as 2008, approximately 250 days, leading the national market, which averaged a couple of weeks longer.

A more in-depth report on November 2009 brokerage sales, including a spotlight on sales in Florida, the largest brokerage market, will appear in the next issue of Soundings Trade Only. These figures are based on the unaudited reports in SoldBoats.com by the broker members of YachtWorld.com.

This article originally appeared in the January 2010 issue.

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