Continuing June’s positive sales results in July, U.S. brokerages sold 2 percent more boats in July, at 12 percent higher prices, than they did in the same month last year.
A total of 3,388 boats were sold for $333 million during the month, according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in SoldBoats.com, their proprietary database.
The improvement was not earth-shaking, but sales volumes were up in five of six market segments by length, notably in the 36- to 45-foot range, where 750 boats were sold, a 13 percent increase. This category generally had been under-performing, but through seven months of the year it is now level with 2014. Weaker sales occurred among boats of less than 26 feet as 1,043 were sold, down 9 percent from last year.
Sailboat volume was up 5 percent for the month and powerboat volume was up 2 percent, with sales of 559 and 2,829 boats, respectively. Both categories registered gains in the total price paid for boats, with sail up 9 percent and power up 12 percent.
Overall sales through July totaled 18,969 boats, 1 percent less than in the same period last year. The total price paid rose 5 percent, however, with $2.37 billion changing hands. All length segments for the year through July were in positive territory or level, with the exception of boats smaller than 26 feet and larger than 80 feet.
This month, as we continue our series of reports on the age of inventory in the brokerage market, we compared the age of the boats sold on YachtWorld in the 12 months that ended June 30 with the age of boats newly listed during the same period, and with the age of all boats listed on YachtWorld as of June 30.
The diagrams (at right) chart these metrics for powerboats and sailboats on a percentage basis and present general shapes that will look familiar to readers of previous reports. As of June 30, the bulk of the newly created and previously existing inventory of powerboat brokerage listings were 20 years old or less. The sailboat brokerage listings inventory was noticeably older, with the bulk of it built in the 1980s and a significant minority built between the last two recessions, roughly 1995 to 2008.
In both categories, in the one-to-five-year range, brokers had a growing stock of listings, existing and newly created, yet the demand, as represented by the number of boats sold, was lower. In the six-to-15-year range, demand was greater, with sales completed at a level above current inventory and new listings. This was especially the case among powerboats.
One other observation about both diagrams is that the proportion of boats sold exceeded that of inventory and newly created listings by the most where supply was highest. That may be a result of having more listings to choose from and/or more competitive pricing in those sectors.
Among powerboats — with the exception of relatively recent models — the proportion of boats sold surpassed that of new listings, indicating that inventory levels were shifting toward newer boats. Among sailboats, not only were recent models selling at a level below that of existing inventory, but also the inventory of boats more than 35 years old remained higher than the demand.
John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue.