Brokerage sales drop in February

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U.S. brokerage sales fell 14 percent in February as 1,679 boats were traded, compared with 1,942 in the same month last year.

Despite the decline, the total number sold was close to the five-year February average of 1,707, according to member brokerages reporting in, their proprietary database.

The aggregate price paid for boats sold in February declined 9 percent, from $230 million in 2012 to $209 million this year, a figure that was nonetheless higher than in February 2011, when the total was $185 million.

Any time that unit sales decline significantly in a month, the decrease is most likely to show up among boats under 35 feet. In the under-26-foot category, sales slowed from 668 boats to 549, and among boats 26 to 35 feet, sales decreased from 724 to 611. However, average prices paid increased. For boats under 26 feet, the average sale price increased from $20,100 to $21,500, and in the 26- to 35-foot range the average rose from $54,600 to $57,300.

The decline in the market was primarily in the powerboat sector, which dropped 15 percent, from 1,581 boats to 1,343. Total value fell 13 percent to $180 million. Sailboat sales declined 7 percent to 336 boats, but ever the contrarians, buyers of sailboats paid more money, $29 million, against a total of $24 million a year earlier.

The strongest category in unit sales in February, compared with the period 12 months earlier, was boats 36 to 55 feet, where sales and values were relatively even. They were dead level among boats 36 to 45 feet, at 367 boats, although the total price paid declined 4 percent from $50 million to $48 million. Unit sales of boats 46 to 55 feet totaled 104, down two from February 2012, and the aggregate price fell $800,000, to slightly more than $29 million.

Sales declined significantly among larger boats. Among boats 56 to 79 feet, sales were down from 61 to 36. Among those over 80 feet, sales dipped from 16 to 12. Aggregate prices paid declined at lower percentage rates than unit sales. The total price paid for all boats sold that were longer than 55 feet was $86 million, down from $96 million.

A more detailed report summarizing recent U.S. brokerage sales will appear in the April issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— John Burnham

YachtWorld editorial director