U.S. brokerage sales volume in June rose 3 percent from the same month a year earlier, narrowing the year-to-date gap between boat sales in 2014 and 2015 to a 2 percent decline. Through June, 15,582 boats had been sold by YachtWorld member brokerages, as reported in SoldBoats.com, their proprietary database.
In a sign of growing market strength, sales were above the five-year average in June for the second month in a row. In fact, the 3,649 boats sold is the second-highest monthly figure recorded since 2007, exceeded only by May 2014, when sales were a dozen boats higher.
By contrast, the total value of sales in June was 15 percent lower than in the same month last year. This was attributable to lower-priced superyacht sales (boats larger than 80 feet). The segment declined from $185.5 million in sales to $53.8 million, even though 20 superyachts were sold during the month, two more than the year before.
Excluding the superyacht segment, the total value of sales in June in all other sizes combined was $359 million — 20 percent higher than a year earlier. For the first six months of the year the total price paid for all boats under 80 feet was 7 percent higher than in 2014, and the average selling price was up 9 percent.
Even with the volatility of superyacht sales, the total price paid for brokerage boats from January through June was $2.04 billion, up 4 percent from the first half of last year.
Florida has led the way in market growth. Volume in the second quarter climbed 7 percent on sales of 1,845 boats. Through June, Florida brokerage sales have gained 3 percent, with 3,307 boats sold.
Earlier in the year, Florida brokers saw a 26 percent increase in the 46- to 55-foot range. Although the category cooled off somewhat in the second quarter, sales of boats that size remained up 12 percent for that quarter and 19 percent through June while selling at higher average prices.
The hottest Florida segment in the second quarter, however, was boats from 26 to 35 feet, up 17 percent with 670 boats sold. Despite lower sales in the first quarter, the number of boats sold in this range for the first six months of the year has risen by 7 percent, and the average selling price increased 4 percent.
Also gaining traction in Florida in the second quarter was sales among boats 56 to 79 feet and boats under 26 feet. In the larger-boat category, sales increased 7 percent in the quarter and were level for the year through June. Among small boats, sales increased 5 percent in the quarter and were up 1 percent through June.
John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue.