U.S. brokerage sales began 2016 as they ended 2015, with numbers that were weaker than in the same month in the previous year.
A total of 1,516 boats sold for $201.2 million — declines of 4 percent and 9 percent, respectively, according to YachtWorld members reporting in SoldBoats, their proprietary database.
Despite positive numbers in other segments of the market, a combination of fewer sales of the smallest boats and a $30 million drop in the total price paid for the largest boats led to the overall market contraction.
Power and sailboat sales trended in opposite directions in January, with powerboats declining 6 percent as 1,175 were sold and sailboats gaining 6 percent as 341 were sold. Both types of boats sold for lower values.
The average price of a powerboat that sold during the month was $148,000, off 4 percent; the average price of a sailboat was $81,000, down 10 percent.
The volume of big-boat sales improved in January, as all segments from 46 feet and up showed growth. The strongest segment was 56 to 79 feet, where sales rose from 37 boats to 58 and the total value increased from $36.4 million to $49 million.
Sales grew incrementally in the 46- to 55-foot range, from 115 to 121 boats, and the value increased by $4 million to $38.1 million. Sales of boats 80 feet and larger increased from 10 to 11, but as noted above, the boats sold were much less pricey, selling for a total of $20.4 million, down from $50.7 million a year earlier.
Sales volumes were lower in all market segments below 46 feet, with the number of boats sold under 26 feet decreasing the most — 11 percent — to 416. Among boats from 26 to 35 feet, sales declined 4 percent as 528 were sold and among boats from 36 to 45 feet, the volume was down 3 percent as 382 were sold.
Notable, however, was that average prices rose among boats smaller than 26 feet and from 36 to 45 feet. Only boats from 26 to 35 feet sold for lower average prices.
Along with December and February, January is typically one of the weakest sales months in the U.S. brokerage market. January used to be a slightly stronger month than December, but it has trended lower during the last two years.
With only one exception during the last five years, February has shown a sales uptick from January.
John Burnham is the managing editor of Dominion Marine Media.
A more detailed report summarizing recent U.S. brokerage sales will appear in the March issue of Soundings Trade Only.