U.S. brokerages reported a third consecutive month of improved sales in July, collectively selling 3,517 boats, a 10 percent gain from the same month in 2012.
Sales through the first seven months of the year were ahead of 2012 by 2 percent, with 19,924 boats changing hands, according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in Soldboats.com, their proprietary database.
The aggregate price of the boats sold was 25 percent higher than a year earlier, at $299.1 million, and for the first seven months of this year $2.4 billion in sales were recorded, a gain of 22 percent from the previous year.
Sales in each of the most popular sizes below 45 feet gained 6 percent or more, with the 26- to 35-foot range making the strongest gain, 10 percent, with 1,432 boats sold. As they have been all year, the two smaller size ranges — 26 to 35 feet and under 26 feet — registered increases in average prices, unlike the 36- to 45-foot segment, which exhibited slight downward pressure on pricing.
The top end of the market also contributed to the gains made in July. In the 56- to 79-foot size, 73 boats were sold, up 46 percent from July 2012, with an increase in aggregate price paid of 47 percent, to $40 million. In the 46- to 55-foot size, sales were up 14 percent, with 153 boats sold, and the total value increased by 42 percent, to $43.9 million. Those two segments recorded weaker sales earlier in the year.
By comparison, sales in the Northeast — from Pennsylvania and New Jersey up through New York and New England — were not as strong as sales in the country as a whole. Sales improved in July, but remained lower in 2013 than 2012 for the year to date. Brokers reported selling 3,702 boats, down from 3,837 a year earlier. The aggregate price paid was also lower, by $19 million, or 7 percent.
Powerboat sales in the region were 4 percent lower, with 2,889 sold, and values declined $26 million, to $179 million. Sailboats sold at about the same rate as in the previous year, with 813 sold for the year to date; by comparison, in the rest of the country sailboat sales were incrementally higher. Northeast brokers did report an increase in sailboat values, with the aggregate sale price rising from $57 million to $63 million, an 11 percent increase.
Among powerboats sold in the Northeast, the singular segment in which growth was reported for the year to date was 36 to 45 feet, which was up 77 boats, or 23 percent. In the smaller sizes, sales were lower, with 1,287 boats sold shorter than 26 feet, an 8 percent decline, and 1,111 boats sold in the 26- to 35-foot range, also down 8 percent.
John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the September 2013 issue.