Brokerage sales continue to rise, but speed of deals varies

U.S. brokerage boat sales continued to increase incrementally during the summer as 1 percent more boats were sold in August than in the same month last year.
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U.S. brokerage boat sales continued to increase incrementally during the summer as 1 percent more boats were sold in August than in the same month last year.

A total of 2,902 changed hands for $280 million, according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in SoldBoats.com, their proprietary database.

Powerboat sales were 1 percent higher than the previous August, as 2,375 boats were sold, and sailboat sales were up 3 percent, with 527 boats sold. The top-performing segment on a percentage basis was boats from 56 to 79 feet. Sales were up 23 percent as 75 boats were sold for an aggregate price of $47 million, a 36 percent gain.

On a volume basis the strongest segment was boats 26 to 35 feet, which gained 2 percent as 1,128 boats were sold.

Slowing, compared with last year, was the 80-foot-plus segment, as 11 boats sold for $19 million, down by half from 22 boats that sold for $54 million a year earlier. Also showing a value drop was the 46-to-55-foot segment, which edged lower from $48 million to $46 million despite a 1 percent gain in volume.

This month, in response to a request from a broker reader, we begin a two-month review of the speed at which brokerage boats have sold this year through the end of August. Brokers often need to help clients by setting expectations about how fast their boat will sell; to provide some extra data, we looked not only at length, but also at the age of the models.

In the tables and charts at right, we report the number of days it took to sell powerboats. In the tables, Q1 shows how many days it took for the first 25 percent of boats to sell. The period is shown in green on the chart. Median shows how many days it took for half of the boats to sell. The median is shown in the chart by the heavy black line, and the period between Q1 and Median is shown in orange.

Q3 shows how many days it took for the first 75 percent of boats to sell, and the period between Median and Q3 is shown in red. We do not attempt to show sales past Q3 because the numbers would literally be off the charts. Through August, 854 boats were reported sold after being listed more than 1,000 days.

Powerboats under 26 feet: At this size, there was little difference among newer boats and those 11 to 20 years old in the first and second quartiles. Among boats more than 20 years old, those in the first quartile moved quickly, but the median number of days to sale was more than a month longer and third-quartile boats sold three months slower.

Powerboats 26 to 35 feet: In this range a very clear progression of slower sales was evident for older boats. In addition, most boats of any age that didn’t sell among the first half of boats their size could easily take double the time to sell.

Powerboats 36 to 45 feet: In this size there was far less variation evident by age, especially among the first 25 percent to sell — less than 100 days, regardless of age.

Powerboats 46 to 55 feet: Among boats of this size, the number of days to sale was very consistent, no matter the age of the boat. In fact, the boats that were more than 20 years old sold a bit faster than the newer boats, especially those 11 to 20 years old.

Powerboats 56 to 79 feet: The fastest-selling group in this size range was boats 11 to 20 years old, slightly ahead of those 10 years old and newer and further ahead of those 20-years plus. The number of days to sale for all boats was dramatic, ranging from the low 100s to 600-plus.

Powerboats 80 feet and larger: Broadly speaking, boats less than 20 years old sold at similar rates in this range. Older superyachts sold substantially slower.

John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.

This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue.

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