U.S. brokerage sales in May increased by more than 700 boats from April’s total and surpassed sales in May 2012 by more than 100 boats, reaching a monthly peak since the recession of 3,730.
The peak month for sales is typically May or June, and since 2010 roughly 3,400 or 3,500 boats have been sold during whichever month was the peak. The best month had been May of 2012, with 3,589 boats sold, until May of this year topped it.
According to reports in SoldBoats.com by YachtWorld member brokers, the gains were evenly split between sales of powerboats (up 4 percent) and sailboats (up 5 percent). But when geographic distribution is considered, the increased sales can be seen to come largely from one state — Florida. There brokers sold 674 boats in May, a gain of 135 from the same month a year earlier.
The Florida market often marches to a different beat than the rest of the country and its sales have risen notably for the year to date. Not only have Florida brokers sold 244 more boats, a total of 2,778, they also have sold them for $909 million, $229 million more than the total price paid a year earlier.
For the year to date, total U.S. sales were 1 percent behind 2012, and apart from Florida, sales have been even lower — 420 fewer boats than in the first five months of 2012. The total price paid for all boats in the United States through May, $1.66 billion, was an increase of only $218 million, so although the Florida market has expanded, elsewhere the market shrank by $11 million.
As is often the case when values rise, superyacht sales make the biggest difference, and in May alone Florida brokers sold 11 boats over 80 feet for $83 million more than the seven superyachts they sold in May 2012. By contrast, the nine superyachts sold outside the state went for only $8 million.
The sailboat market, as was reported last month, has shown modest improvement in 2013, and it continued to make gains in May, with 607 boats sold and sales up 5 percent. For the year, sail is up 2 percent, with 2,307 boats sold and an increased aggregate price paid of $220 million, up from $169 million.
Florida is not known for high sailboat sales, and looking at the numbers we see that the sailboat market has made most of its gains without relying on Florida, where brokerages sold 362 sailboats in the first five months of this year. That’s about 16 percent of the 2,307 sailboats sold in the country during the period.
The total price paid for the sailboats Florida brokers sold was $74 million, 34 percent of the U.S. total, and all four superyacht sailboats sold in the United States in 2013 were sold in Florida for an aggregate price of $38 million. Outside the superyacht category Florida brokers sold 358 sailboats for $36 million, or 20 percent of the aggregate price paid for sailboats in the country.
John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the July 2013 issue.