U.S. brokerages reported another month of improved sales in August, collectively selling 3,066 boats, a 9 percent gain from August of 2012 and the fifth month in a row of sales that topped 3,000.
Through August, 23,488 boats have been sold, 4 percent more than the 22,666 sold during the same period in 2012, according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in Soldboats.com, their proprietary database.
The value of the boats sold in August increased by $65.9 million, or 27 percent, to $312.5 million. About half of that figure was the result of gains in superyacht sales, but in almost every other size range the values also increased along with unit sales.
For the year through August the aggregate price of boats sold was 25 percent higher than in 2012, with $2.8 billion changing hands.
In addition to a rise in superyacht sales from 10 boats to 16, the 56- to 79-foot range had its second strong month in a row, with sales up from 54 boats to 68 and values proportionately higher, at $34.5 million. After slow sales in the first half of the year this size range pulled nearly even with 2012 during the summer. Boat values were within a couple of percentage points, as well.
Boats 46 to 55 feet, which also sold more slowly and at lower average prices earlier in the year, recorded a 16 percent increase in sales, to 168 boats, in August. The total value was 39 percent higher, at $50.2 million in sales. For the year to date, unit sales in the category were up 4 percent, with 1,145 boats sold, and the aggregate price had risen by 8 percent, to $324.8 million.
The only size range that had just relatively modest growth in August was boats 26 to 35 feet. Sales climbed 3 percent, with 1,183 boats sold, and the total value declined 2 percent, with $60.2 million in sales. By contrast, the smallest size range — under 26 feet — had one of its best months of the year with a 13 percent increase in sales, to 957 boats, and a 29 percent gain in value, to $22.2 million.
Not every region in the United States has shared equally in the market’s improvement. Brokerages on the Great Lakes are one example. For the year to date sales were lower by 147 boats, with 2,094 boats sold. On a more positive note, the total value of boats sold in 2013 increased by $8 million.
On the West Coast, sales improved in the summer after a slow winter and spring and were down 1 percent for the year through August, with 2,708 boats sold. The total value of sales was up 6 percent, with $235 million paid.
Sales in the Mid-Atlantic, profiled in our story two months ago, continued to improve in the summer and were ahead by 177 boats and $25 million, but the strongest gains continued to be in the Southeast, where brokers reported sales of 6,680, an 8 percent increase. The aggregate value of those sales increased substantially during the time period, from $1.06 billion to $1.58 billion.
John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue.