When it comes to the yacht brokerage market, Florida has long been the major player in the United States, and 2014 was no different.
Nearly one in five boats sold in this country last year was sold in Florida, according to YachtWorld member brokers reporting in their proprietary database, SoldBoats.com. On top of that, close to 50 cents of every dollar paid for a brokerage boat involved a Florida yacht brokerage transaction. Florida brokers reported that they sold 5,776 boats in 2014 for $1.655 billion. That’s 19 percent of the 30,063 boats sold nationwide and a remarkable 46 percent of the total value.
As has been the norm in recent years, Florida sales were concentrated among larger boats and were more heavily power-oriented than in the rest of the United States. Of boats from 46 to 79 feet, more than a third were sold in Florida; the majority of all boat sales over 80 feet took place in the Sunshine State.
The total volume of brokerage sales in the United States was lower in 2014 than 2013 by 5 percent (see the February issue of Soundings Trade wOnly), and small-boat sales under 35 feet were down for the year by at least as much in Florida as elsewhere.
However, overall volume in the state was off by only 3 percent because brokerage sales volume was significantly higher among larger vessels. For example, among boats 36 to 45 feet, Florida brokers sold 111 more than the year before while the rest of the country was down by 124 boats. Among boats 56 to 79 feet, Florida sales were 15 percent higher, with 331 boats sold; total sales in the segment nationwide were 769 boats, only 6 percent better than the previous year.
In those same two ranges, the average sold prices showed greater improvement in Florida, as well, rising by 6 percent, whereas in the United States as a whole, they were up only 2 to 3 percent. Average sold prices were also generally higher in Florida. Again using the example of boats 36 to 45 feet, the average sold price was $169,000 in Florida and $133,000 across the country.
In Florida and the rest of the country, even as sales increased in the 46- to 55-foot range, average sold prices were lower — by 5 percent in Florida and by 3 percent nationwide. The average sold price in this segment was still higher in Florida than nationally — $324,000, compared with $277,000.
The difference in sales volume and in average sold prices was even greater in the segment larger than 80 feet, demonstrating that the superyacht market inside and outside Florida is two different markets. In Florida, brokers sold 131 boats — eight more than in 2013 — and despite a large decline in the aggregate price obtained, from $1.129 billion to $746 million, the average sold price was still north of $5.5 million.
By comparison, brokers in the rest of the country sold 64 boats for $104 million, an average sold price of $1.6 million.
John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.
This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue.