Brokerage sales drop in November

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After monthly performances that generally lagged 2013 results by single-digit percentages, U.S. brokerage sales were 12 percent lower in November as 1,749 boats were sold, compared with 1,983 in the same month a year earlier.

Despite the lower volume, SoldBoats.com reports by YachtWorld member yacht brokerages were that the total value of boats sold in November increased by $20 million to $251 million.

The seemingly contradictory outcome was the result of higher-value sales among boats 80 feet and longer. Eleven superyachts were reported sold for $68 million in that category compared with 12 that were sold for $33 million in November 2013.

Excluding the sales in this category, the aggregate price paid for boats sold in November was lower by $15 million, rather than higher by $20 million — down by 8 percent rather than higher by 9 percent.

The total price paid in most size ranges below the superyacht level was lower in November 2014 than it was a year earlier. The exceptions were among boats 46 to 55 feet and shorter than 26 feet. Both categories registered an increase of 2 percent in the aggregate price paid, even as sales volumes declined by double digits.

In both of the other high-volume segments of smaller boats — 36 to 45 feet and 26 to 35 feet — sales were 12 percent lower and the total value was off by 8 and 6 percent, respectively.

As was reported a number of times this year, the monthly average sales prices generally improved; in November, the average in each segment below 55 feet rose between 5 and 17 percent. The largest percentage gain was among boats under 26 feet, where the average price rose from $20,600 to $24,100.

Powerboat and sailboat sales were lower by double-digit percentages for the month. The number of powerboats sold declined from 1,537 to 1,385, or 10 percent, but sail was off by far more on a percentage basis, with sales decreasing from 446 sales to 364, or 18 percent. The report for sailboat sales is notable, considering that in October sales increased by 3 percent from the same month a year earlier.

John Burnham is the editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.

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

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Overall boat sales in March were slightly lower compared to last year and year-over-year growth was down by just over 1 percent, according to Statistical Surveys Inc., data that was gathered for 30 states.