November extends encouraging trend in brokerage sales


U.S. brokers had another good month in November, selling 1,983 boats, almost 300 more than they did in the same month in 2012.

The performance stretched to seven months a sales trend that, according to YachtWorld member brokers reporting in, is higher than in 2012 and above the five-year average for the period since April.

Through the year’s first 11 months U.S. brokers sold 29,933 boats, 6 percent more than in 2012, when 28,240 were sold during the same period.

The total value of the boats sold also increased at a higher percentage rate for the first 11 months of the year as $3.5 billion changed hands, up $587 million, or 20 percent, from 2012.

Superyacht sales had an outsize effect on this increase with a $452.5 million gain, to $965.1 million. But the high-volume end of the market made strong gains, as well, so with the year nearly complete we decided to take a look at changes to average pricing in different size ranges.

To look at average prices, we decided first to segregate sales of superyachts and vessels 56 to 79 feet from the rest of the fleet. Relatively few larger boats are sold each year, and the pricing varies dramatically. The increased aggregate price of superyacht sales in 2013 for the year to date was a good example: 17 percent more boats were sold, but the total price increased at five times that rate. The average reported price for a superyacht that was sold in the first 11 months of 2012 was $3.6 million. In 2013 it increased by 61 percent, to $5.8 million.


The 56- to 79-foot range presented a different story. From January through November in 2012, 682 boats of that size were sold for $476 million; in 2013 the number sold declined to 667 and the aggregate selling price was $446.2 million. The average price in the range declined from $698,000 to $669,000, a drop of 4 percent.

For the rest of the market — boats less than 55 feet in length — sales rose 6.1 percent, from 27,416 boats sold in 2012 to 29,100 in 2013. The aggregate price of the boats increased 8.9 percent during the period, from $1.92 billion to $2.09 billion.

As a result, the average price of the boats sold climbed from $70,000 to $72,000, a 3 percent gain. It may not seem like much, but it’s a good sign in a market that has been seeking price stability for a long time.

We also looked at the average time to sale for boats on the market to see whether boats were selling faster, as well. Through November, the average was 262 days, the same as in 2012. However, comparing the latter half of each year, the average selling time declined in the third quarter by three days and in the fourth quarter through November by 10 days.

In summary, as the volume of sales increased in the second half of the year and the average prices increased, the average time to sell declined.

John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.

This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue.


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