U.S. brokerage sales were up in February once again for YachtWorld.com member brokers. The number of boats sold across the country rose 9 percent compared to the previous month and by 33 percent compared to February 2009.
The total valuation of boats sold increased by 16 percent from January and by 68 percent from February 2009. The notable jump in valuation can be linked primarily, although not exclusively, to stronger sales among boats over 55 feet in length, which shot up in February from less than $50 million a year ago to almost $100 million this year.
The actual increase in the number of boats sold was from 1,323 in February 2009 to 1,759 boats last month, and the valuation increase was from $132 million to $221 million. Year-to-date, the number of boats sold was 3,367, a 31 percent increase over 2009, and the valuation was $411 million, up 55 percent.
To put these gains in perspective, however, let's compare early-year sales to what happened in the previous five years. If you take the average number of boats sold during the first two months of the year, 2010's numbers are roughly 15 percent behind 2005-07 but only slightly behind 2008. Yet valuation is still 12 percent behind 2008 ($411 million compared to $471 million). If you consider early 2008 a normal sales period, the 2010 figures are getting there; if you consider one of the earlier years typical, the market still has quite a way to go.
This month, we zero in on one of the smaller regions, the Gulf Coast, consisting of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas, where we find the brokerage market lagging behind the national market. Eighty-seven boats were reported sold in February, up 12 percent over February 2009 but a much smaller increase than the 33 percent reported nationally. For the first two months of the year, sales were barely ahead of 2009, up 3 percent. Valuations have been up roughly 40 percent in both January and February, however, with more than $11 million in boats sold year-to-date.
Sales on the Gulf Coast were roughly 10 percent higher, year-to-date, for boats shorter than 35 feet, but they were down for larger boats. Valuations showed improvement in all size ranges, averaging 40 percent or better for all boats shorter than 45 feet.
Reflecting the national trend, the powerboat market has led the sailboat market in the Gulf Coast states, rising 10 percent year-to-date; although sailboat sales matched 2009 in February, they were down 13 percent overall for the first two months of 2010. Notably, the sailboats sold in February had been on sale well over a year, on average, while powerboats had been on sale a little more than nine months.
This brokerage sales data is unaudited and is voluntarily supplied to SoldBoats.com by Yacht World.com member brokers. These charts do not represent all boats sold by all brokers, but 95 percent of YachtWorld.com member brokers in the United States contribute sales information. SoldBoats. com, YachtWorld.com and Soundings Trade Only are owned by Dominion Enterprises.
This article originally appeared in the April 2010 issue.