Brokerage sales bounced back in first half

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U.S. brokerage sales in June missed May’s record-setting levels by more than 100 boats, but the total of 3,402 transactions helped the market achieve a first-half result that was more than 600 boats, or 4 percent, higher than in 2011.


According to member brokerages reporting in their proprietary database,, the total value of boats sold in June was $309.3 million, which brought the midyear total to $1.74 billion. This was a decline of 6.7 percent, compared with the $1.86 billion sold in the first six months of 2011. However, if sales of superyachts (boats over 80 feet) are removed from the totals for each year, the total value of sales for the first six months of 2012 is slightly ahead of 2011 at $1.4 billion.

Sailboat sales declined 6.9 percent in June, with 564 boats changing hands. For the year to date, sales were up by 11 boats from 2011, with 2,828 sold. The total value of sailboat sales in June was level, at $45 million; for the first six months of the year, the value fell by $10.3 million, or 4.6 percent, to $213.1 million.

Powerboat sales in June were nearly level with the previous June, at 2,838 boats. The value of the sales was $264.3 million. For the first half of the year, powerboat sales were ahead by 5.1 percent, with 13,201 boats sold. Total value was lower by 6.9 percent, with $1.53 billion in sales, largely because of variation in superyacht sales.

Looking more closely at sales of superyachts for the first half of the year, 97 boats sold — one more than in 2011. With a total of $338.5 million in sales, the average superyacht brought in only $3.5 million in 2012, compared with $5 million a year earlier.

Among boats from 55 to 80 feet, sales were up 11 percent in 2012, with 402 sold, and the total value of sales increased by $18 million, to $308 million. Because sales increased at a greater rate than total price, however, the average sale price of this size boat declined from $804,000 to $766,000.

The other size category with strong sales volume during the first half of the year was boats under 26 feet; 5,484 boats were sold, up 12.9 percent from 2011. They sold at higher prices as well, showing an overall 15.6 percent increase to $112.2 million.

The rest of the market finished the first half of 2012 with mixed results. Sales were up 2.9 percent among boats 36 to 45 feet, with 3,166 sold. Yet sales were off 1.4 percent in the largest sales category, 26- to 35-footers, with 6,079 boats sold. Sales were also down for boats 46 to 55 feet, with sales of 800, down 3.5 percent from 2011.

Continuing the trend pointed out here last month, the average time that a boat was listed before selling was lower again in June, compared with the previous June, down more than a month, from 295 days to 266 days. For the year to date, the difference was less but still notable, dropping from 284 days to 267. n

John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.

This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue.