By some measures, the market for brokerage boats in the United States improved slightly in October compared with previous months.
According to member brokerages of YachtWorld.com, unit sales were nearly level with October 2009 (down 1.5 percent). That's after being 7 percent lower in September compared with September 2009.
In addition, despite the normal downward seasonal trend, the 2,126 boats that were reported sold in October were only 120 fewer than the sales total for September, bringing unit sales for the month much closer to the five-year average for October of 2,263 boats.
Balanced against those improvements, the total value of October sales decreased nearly 10 percent, compared with October 2009 - from $219 million to $198 million -a bigger drop than the 6 percent slide that was recorded in September, compared with September 2009.
The valuation of boats over 55 feet accounted for about $15 million of the difference; boats 46 to 55 feet sold for almost $8 million less. Going against the trend, 467 boats in the 36- to 45-foot size range sold for $60 million, almost $2 million more than in October 2009, even though five fewer boats were sold.
A total of 1,680 powerboats were sold in October, which was even with October 2009. Nearly 8 percent fewer sailboats changed hands, with 446 boats sold. However, this was an improvement from September, when 423 sailboats were sold and sales were down 19 percent.
The total valuation of sales showed sailboats down 14 percent in October, to $30 million, and powerboats down 9 percent, to $168 million.
For the year to date, the U.S. brokerage market is up 10 percent, with 25,970 boats sold. Total valuation of sales is up 15 percent, with sales of $2.6 billion.
A more detailed report on October brokerage sales, including a report on sales by Canadian brokerage members of YachtWorld.com, will appear in the December issue of Soundings Trade Only.
— John Burnham, YachtWorld.com