Skip to main content

Brokerage sales made gains in 2010

December dip and a slowdown in the second half of the year temper optimism about prospects for 2011

54_salegains_01
54_boatsales_02

What started the year as a broad rally in brokerage sales remained positive across all sizes of boats through the end of the year, but only sales of larger boats finished strongly. That's the essence of the 12-month report from SoldBoats.com, the proprietary database in which member brokerages of YachtWorld.com report the prices at which they have sold boats.

For the year, U.S. brokers sold 29,494 boats, 8 percent more than in 2009. The total valuation of those boats was $3.2 billion, an increase of $500 million or 18 percent.

The year began with valuations and unit sales up dramatically, compared to the recessionary lows of early 2009. The rally softened in the spring, in part because 2009 sales had begun to lift at that point. But it also became clear that an early return to the boom times of 2006 and 2007 was not in the cards and the market would have to redefine a new normal.

The summer doldrums hit in the form of a flattening of the U.S. economic recovery and loss of consumer confidence. Month over month, unit sales dipped below 2009 in the fall, but larger boats were selling at higher values, mitigating the overall brokerage slowdown.

In December, 1,597 boats were sold, 6 percent less than December 2009 but level with the five-year average for what is regularly the weakest sales month of the year. The 2010 sales number is only a couple hundred boats behind the Decembers of 2005-2007, but it only looks OK because, in 2008, 1,131 boats were sold, dragging down the average.

In any normal year, the year-end numbers would seem very solid, and the only blemish - an increase in average days to sale - would be easily viewed as a positive since many boats long on the market have finally moved. However, the relative weakness of 2009 and the slowdown in the second half make it hard to forecast 2011 with immediate optimism.

Certainly the market could improve as the U.S. economy makes gains in fits and starts, but December's modest numbers suggest that 2011 could bring more of the same. The most likely gains are in the higher-dollar boats selling at value prices to those with capital who are relatively unaffected by the country's economic challenges.

John Burnham is editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.

This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue.

Related

1_RIGHWHALES

Industry Pushes Back Against Speed Restrictions

A NOAA Fisheries proposal would restrict boats 35 feet and larger to a 10-knot speed limit along the East Coast to protect right whales from vessel strikes.

4_MAGONIS

Magonis Opens Connecticut Office

The Spain-based, electric-boat builder offers an 18-footer that’s available with motors from Torqeedo and Mag Power.

01_YOUTH.FISHING

Bill Seeks to Increase Youth Fishing

The bipartisan Coastal Fishing Program Act of 2022 would ease barriers to accessing the outdoors in underserved communities.

Norm

Fall Is in Full Swing

With the autumnal equinox ushering in a new season today, the fall boat-show circuit is in high gear. Here are some recent reports and a look at what’s to come.

3_MANUFACTURER.CONFIDENCE

Manufacturer Confidence Drops

Still, U.S. builders remain largely optimistic despite ongoing constraints with the supply chain and workforce, as well as yesterday’s interest rate hike.

1_TEMO.DEFENDER

Defender Adds TEMO Electric Boat Motor

Defender Industries is the official U.S. dealer for the French company’s lightweight, portable electric motors.

2_TWIN.DISC.BELGIUM

Twin Disc Sells Belgium Facility

The transmission manufacturer is still using the facility in a leaseback transaction as it looks to reduce costs.