Two themes were evident in yacht brokerage sales results for January through June — incrementally lower sales volume and incrementally higher average prices paid.
According to YachtWorld member brokers reporting in SoldBoats, their proprietary database, 15,332 boats in the United States sold for $1.97 billion. During the same period in 2015, 15,584 boats sold for $2.04 billion.
Slower sales of powerboats were responsible for the 2 percent volume decline. Brokers sold 12,731 powerboats, down from 12,976 last year. Sailboat volume remained virtually flat, as 2,601 boats were sold, compared with 2,608.
The difference in the time required to sell a sailboat versus a powerboat continued to grow, however, with powerboats selling in an average of 253 days, 3 percent less time than last year, and sailboats selling in 322 days, 4 percent longer.
In the highest-volume sectors of the market — boats as long as 45 feet — fewer traded during the first half of the year. Volume was down 4 percent in the 26-to-35 foot and under-26-foot segments. Sales in the 36- to 45-foot range increased 5 percent during the period, but not enough to offset the decline among the smaller boats.
One common characteristic in all three smaller market segments was higher average sold prices. Making the biggest percentage jump was the category under 26 feet, where the average boat sold for $25,800, up 7 percent from $24,100 in 2015. In the 26- to 35-foot and 36- to 45-foot ranges, the averages increase by $1,400 and $5,800, respectively.
Sales of boats larger than 45 feet rose 1 percent during the period, with 1,393 reported sold. The aggregate price of the boats that sold declined by $102.6 million, mostly because of lower sold prices for boats larger than 80 feet. The total value of boats sold in the segment from 56 to 79 feet declined by 10 percent, or $32 million, to $304.1 million.
Both of these segments are regularly volatile in terms of the total price paid. In June, compared with the previous June, for example, the value of boats from 56 to 79 feet that sold was down 23 percent; among boats 80 feet and longer, the value increased by 23 percent.
In Florida, often a bellwether for U.S. yacht brokerage, sales volumes rose from 2015. Sales increased 1 percent in the second quarter and were 3 percent higher for the first half of the year. Notably, boats smaller than 26 feet were selling much better than in 2015 — up 20 percent, from 767 to 923. Other categories were more in line with national averages, except for lower sales of boats from 46 to 55 feet and increased sales among those larger than 80 feet.
Florida brokers sold 3,359 boats for $935.9 million during the first six months of this year. That was 22 percent of all brokerage boats sold in the United States and 47 percent of the total value — market-share gains of 1 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
John Burnham is the managing editor of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 issue.