For the third year running, U.S. yacht brokers reached the end of December with fewer boats sold than the year before.
A total of 29,431 boats were reported sold in 2016, according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in SoldBoats, their proprietary database. Declines have been incremental, but the market has contracted each year since 2013, when 31,652 boats were sold.
For the year, sales were lower by 3 percent, compared with 2015, when 30,223 boats were sold. However, the total value of sold boats went in a positive direction, up 1 percent as $3.73 billion changed hands. And the average sale price increased by 4 percent to $126,854.
The main reason for the volume decline was that fewer boats 35 feet and shorter were sold. Among boats under 26 feet, 8,753 were sold, a decline of 5 percent. Among boats 26 to 35 feet, the story was similar; sales of 11,152 boats represented a 4 percent decrease.
Although volumes slipped, value rose 7 percent for the smallest boats and 4 percent for the 26- to 35-footers. In the under-26-foot bracket, despite the volume decline, the total value of the boats sold rose from $226.8 million to $229.4 million.
The 36- to 45-foot range showed the most robust growth in the market during the year, as 6,779 boats were sold with a gain of 174. The total value of sold boats increased 6 percent to $939.8 million and the average sale price climbed 3 percent to $138,629.
Although sales in the superyacht range — 80 feet and longer — rose by six boats and $8 million in 2016, sales among larger yachts were generally lower, with the 56- to 79-foot range off by 5 percent and $40 million.
Powerboat sales of 24,141 declined 3 percent from 2015 and sailboat sales of 5,290 were down 1 percent. The number of days, on average, that were required to sell either type of boat was lower in 2016. Powerboats sold seven days faster than in 2015, averaging 246 from listing to sale. Sailboats sold four days faster, averaging 302.
John Burnham is the managing editor of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue.