Data Tracker: Fewer individuals list boats for sale

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There are many ways to sell a used boat, and listing at BoatTrader.com has been one of the more popular ones in recent years. As 2010 closed, we looked at a specific type of listing on the site - those posted by individual sellers - and compared it against 2009, a year in which the site carried nearly 35,000 listings. We found a decrease in boats listed in 2010 - a total of 32,367 boats, or about 7.5 percent fewer than in 2009.

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A breakdown of the listings by size shows there were 7 to 8 percent fewer listings among the roughly 26,000 boats under 30 feet. In size ranges above that, close to 5,000 boats were listed, a decrease of 2 percent or less. In fact, among boats 35 to 40 feet long and those 40 to 45 feet, we found that more private-seller ads were placed in 2010.

Breaking down the individual-seller listings by price, a similar story unfolds, with the number of boats listed under $95,000 down 8 percent. Interestingly, 10 percent more boats were listed at prices between $95,000 and $150,000. More expensive boats showed a decrease in listings numbers of 5 to 11 percent.

The increase in boats for sale in that middle range could plausibly relate to the economy, for example, if the boats were financed and owners felt pressure to sell. Whether fewer small-boat owners tried to sell their boats or they chose other sales approaches, we can't say. It seems likely that owners might have felt they wouldn't get good value for their boats and weren't, in any case, ready financially to exchange their current rides for larger or newer models.

This article originally appeared in the February 2011 issue.

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