Slow but steady improvement has been the theme for the U.S. yacht brokerage market during the past four months, and September was no exception.
According to reports to SoldBoats.com, the proprietary database of YachtWorld member brokerages, sales volume increased 2 percent, with 2,473 boats sold. The total value of sales rose 15 percent, to $260.5 million. During the third quarter, sales were 2 percent higher than they were in 2014, as 8,763 boats were sold. The total value of sales for the quarter was $871.6 million, a 6 percent increase, and the average sale price increased by 4 percent per boat.
Although sailboat sales dipped in September, they were 1 percent higher for the quarter, as 1,555 boats were sold. Powerboat sales gained 4 percent in September and finished the quarter up 2 percent, with 7,208 boats sold.
By length, most segments of the market gained during the third quarter, with 80 more boats sold in both the 26- to 35-foot and 36- to 45-foot brackets. On a percentage basis, the biggest increase was in the 56- to 79-foot range, which gained 20 percent, from 179 to 214 boats sold.
This month, we offer the second half of a two-month review of the speed at which brokerage boats have sold this year through the end of August. The study looked not only at the length, but also the age of the models and began last month with a review of powerboat sales. This month, in the tables and charts at right, we report the speed of sale for boats with masts.
Q1 shows how many days it took for the first 25 percent (the first quartile) of boats to sell. The period is shown in green on the chart. Median shows how many days it took for half of the boats to sell. The median is shown in the chart by the heavy black line, and the period between Q1 and Median is shown in orange.
Q3 shows how many days it took for the first 75 percent of boats to sell, and the period between Median and Q3 is shown in red. We don’t try to show sales past Q3 because the numbers would literally be off the charts. Through August, 410 sailboats were reported sold after being listed more than 1,000 days.
Sailboats under 26 feet: Boats more than 20 years old were the fastest sellers in this range among the first 25 percent to sell, but those 11 to 20 years old were the fastest to sell among median and third-quartile boats.
Sailboats 26 to 35 feet: Boats in this range were fastest to sell by brokers. Age did not impact the speed of sale for the fastest 50 percent to sell, but in the third quartile, boats newer than 20 years of age, and especially those less than 10 years old, sold the fastest.
Sailboats 36 to 45 feet: In this size there was far less variation evident by age, especially among the first 25 percent to sell. As with boats under 26 feet, boats in the third quartile sold more than a month faster than those newer and older.
Sailboats 46 to 55 feet: Surprisingly, among boats of this size the boats for sale 20-plus years old sold most quickly by 15 days to four months. Unlike in smaller-boat categories, boats more than 20 years sold faster than boats 11 to 20 years old.
Sailboats 56 to 79 feet: The newest boats, 10 years old or less, were generally fastest to sell in this range, with the only exception being boats in the first quartile of those more than 20 years old. Notably, most boats more than 20 years old sold faster than those 11 to 20 years old by two to 10 months.
Sailboats 80 feet and up: The only boats in this range to sell, on average, in less than a year were vessels 10 years old and younger. Sales of this size sailboat are uncommon, however, so keep in mind that this represents a small sample size.
John Burnham is the managing editor of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the November 2015 issue.