Big-boat sales push brokerage valuations higher

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U.S. brokerage sales in November gained substantially in total valuation, compared with the same month last year. Reports by YachtWorld.com member brokerages to the proprietary database, SoldBoats.com, indicate that valuations climbed to $388 million, a 76 percent increase from the previous November.

Total valuation for the U.S. market through 11 months of the year increased to $2.97 billion, a rise of $500 million from 2009.

The market increase was most pronounced for boats over 55 feet. Unit sales increased 60 percent, to 77 boats, from 48 in November last year, and the total valuation of sales increased to $231 million, up nearly 300 percent.

November unit sales were 2 percent higher, with 1,938 boats changing hands. That figure exceeded the five-year average for November by 60 boats - the first time in 2010 that a month's sales had beaten the average. Year-to-date unit sales have increased 9 percent from the first 11 months of 2009, with 27,900 boats sold.

Powerboat sales, which drive roughly 80 percent of the brokerage market, were up 3 percent, with 1,504 boats sold; sales of sailboats dropped 3 percent, to 434 boats. The difference in total valuation of sales was more dramatic, with powerboat valuation up 105 percent and sailboat valuation down 31 percent.

For the year to date, the two market sectors are more closely aligned, with powerboat sales up 10 percent in units, compared with sail, which is up 7 percent. Most of the gain in valuation, however, has been in powerboat sales, which are up 22 percent for the year. Sailboat sales are up only 7 percent.

A more detailed report on November 2010 brokerage sales, including a report on sales by Florida brokerage members of YachtWorld.com, will appear in the January issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— John Burnham is editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.

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