After a good month in February, U.S. brokerages reported selling only 2,203 boats in March. Although that was 501 more sales than in February, it represented a decrease of 11 percent from March 2014.
On the other hand, the total value of March sales ($320.7 million) was 20 percent higher than in the same month a year earlier, according to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in their proprietary database, SoldBoats.com.
Largely responsible for this increase in valuation was the recent sale of higher-priced superyachts; in the market segment of yachts larger than 80 feet, the volume of sales rose by just two boats from one March to the next, but the total price paid more than doubled from $52.4 million to $110.6 million.
Apart from the superyacht market, the final price of brokerage boats was also a strength. Although the total price of boats sold that were smaller than 80 feet declined by 2 percent, the average sale price increased 10 percent from $88,000 to $96,000.
The number of powerboat sales in March decreased 11 percent, or 234, to 1,811, compared with the previous March. Yet thanks to superyacht sales, the total value of the boats sold climbed 24 percent to $292 million from $235.1 million. The decline in the volume of sailboat sales was 6 percent as 392 boats were sold, but without a “superyacht effect” the total value of the boats that sold also decreased — in this case by $3.2 million, or 10 percent, to $28.7 million.
Power and sailboat sales were lower by double-digit percentages in all market segments below 45 feet in March. The total value of boats sold increased by 4 percent in the smallest category — under 26 feet — but declined by 10 percent in the 26- to 35-foot and 36- to 45-foot ranges.
Among larger boats, sales volume improved in March. Volume and values were up not only among superyachts, but also in the 56- to 79-foot bracket, where 61 boats were sold, a 5 percent gain, and the total price paid for the boats that sold was $48.4 million, a 17 percent increase.
In the 46- to 55-foot range, which has been stronger recently, sales were up 4 percent, with 127 boats sold, but the total price paid decreased 3 percent to $36.3 million.
A more detailed report summarizing recent U.S. brokerage sales will appear in the May issue of Soundings Trade Only.
John Burnham is the editorial director of YachtWorld.com.