In September, for the fifth month in a row, U.S. brokerages reported a significantly higher volume of sales than in 2012 as 2,549 boats were sold.
Sales were up 29 percent from the 1,977 boats sold in September a year earlier, and they also were more than 350 boats ahead of the five-year sales average for the month, according to YachtWorld member brokerages recording their sales in Soldboats.com.
Although the bulk of the market — 45 feet and under — continued to show strength with gains of 21 to 37 percent, the top end had slower and/or lower-value sales, which held back growth in the aggregate price paid for boats sold during the month.
The total value of boats sold in September was $232.3 million, up 6 percent from $219 million a year earlier. With 29 percent growth in unit sales, the volume gains outpaced value by a large margin.
Among powerboats, the dichotomy was pronounced: 2,014 boats were sold, a 28 percent increase, but the aggregate price paid for them was virtually flat, at $194.5 million. By contrast, sailboat sales were up 32 percent, with 535 boats sold, and the total price paid rose 49 percent, to $37.8 million.
In the superyacht category of boats over 80 feet, sales were down from 11 boats to 9, with a total price paid of $26.5 million, down 37 percent from $42.1 million in September of last year. In the 56- to 79-foot range the story was similar, with sales dropping from 55 to 51 boats (7 percent) and total value declining from $37.8 million to $31.7 million (16 percent).
Among boats 46 to 55 feet, demand was strong as unit sales rose from 116 boats to 149, a gain of 28 percent, but the total price paid climbed only 3 percent, from $36.2 million to $37.2 million.
Demand also was strong for boats 36 to 45 feet, as 573 were traded, a 21 percent increase, and the total price paid rose from $53.1 million to $69.5 million, a 31 percent gain.
Increases were similar among smaller boats. In the 26- to 35-foot segment, 1,038 boats were sold, up 37 percent, with an equal percentage gain in value, to $51.8 million. In the under 26-foot grouping, sales were 29 percent higher, at 729 boats, with a 31 percent increase in value, to $15.6 million.
Through the first three quarters of this year, YachtWorld brokerages reported 25,532 boats sold, a 5 percent gain from 2012. The gain in the aggregate price paid was 21 percent, from $2.45 billion to $2.97 billion.
Although the power and sail segments had very different results in September, they are up 5 to 6 percent in unit sales for the year and have seen an increase of 21 to 22 percent in the total price paid.
John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the November 2013 issue.