There was incremental growth in the U.S. brokerage market in the second half of last year, but volume for the full year was down 1 percent, compared with 2014, and January 2016 figures reveal continued weakness.
Sales volume declined by 4 percent from the previous January and the total price paid for boats sold during the month was down 9 percent, according to YachtWorld member yacht brokerages recording sales in SoldBoats, their proprietary database.
Although the big-boat end of the market had strong sales in January, the superyachts that sold were lower-priced than those that sold a year earlier — by $30 million. Additionally, sales of boats smaller than 26 feet declined from 468 to 416, and sales volumes were incrementally lower among boats from 26 to 45 feet.
The brightest segments for U.S. brokers in January were 56 to 79 feet, a segment in which sales rose from 37 to 58 boats at an aggregate price of $49 million, and the 46- to 55-foot range, where sales increased from 115 to 121 boats and delivered $38.1 million, 11 percent more than the previous year.
In contrast to the U.S. market’s mixed results, brokerage sales in Europe generally showed growth in 2015. Total sales volume rose 6 percent, with most of the gains coming in the first half of the year.
Yet even as sales volumes settled, big-boat sales flourished. In the segment from 56 to 79 feet, the number of boats sold increased from 420 in 2014 to 504 in 2015, a gain of 20 percent. And among boats 80 feet and longer, sales increased by 32 percent, from 165 to 217.
Big-boat sales added about 100 million euros to the market, even though boats larger than 80 feet sold for an average of 20 percent less. Notably, the rest of the market contributed nearly an additional 90 million euros.
Average sold prices rose in every segment below 45 feet, and the strongest was boats 36 to 45 feet: Sales volume gained 12 percent, as 2,106 boats were sold, and the total price paid increased by 23 percent, from 220.2 million euros to 270 million. The average sold price for a 40-footer climbed from 117,000 euros to 128,000.
Unlike the U.S. market, sailboat sales were a significant factor in the European market’s overall volume growth. Total sailboat sales increased from 3,185 to 3,466, a 9 percent gain. Powerboat sales grew 4 percent, from 4,258 to 4,437.
However, the price increases were on the powerboat side, which had 15 percent higher total sales value, at 1.44 billion euros, up from 1.25 billion. Sailboat sales delivered an aggregate price of 351.4 million euros, which was 3 million euros lower than in 2014.
Average prices followed suit: Powerboat prices climbed from 292,762 euros to 324,021 and sailboat prices slid from 111,198 euros to 101,395.
Overall, the European market gained liquidity during the year. Powerboats sold, on average, three weeks faster, in 346 days. Sailboats sold, on average, in 350 days, a one-week improvement from 2014.
John Burnham is the managing editor of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the March 2016 issue.