Last year ended with a bang for many yacht brokerages, according to reports of sales by YachtWorld.com member brokers in the SoldBoats.com database that they share.
Echoing strong sales in November, 1,716 brokerage boats were sold in December, which was 52 percent higher than the same month in 2008. The total valuation of boats sold increased as well, by 64 percent, to $244 million.
One key to December's gains was in the big-boat market. While all size categories showed 35 percent or greater increases in unit sales, a 93 percent increase for boats longer than 55 feet buoyed the whole market. Notably, that swing drove values up in a big way - $64 million in 2008 sales became $112 million in 2009.
The strong finish meant that unit sales for all of 2009 showed a very slight 1.5 percent improvement, after being well behind 2008 through the first half of the year. Although 27,250 boats were recorded as sold, compared to 26,828 boats in 2008, the boats sold were generally smaller and their total valuation was lower by 14 percent - $2.7 billion in 2009 compared to nearly $3.2 billion in 2008.
A more detailed report on 2009 brokerage sales, including sales recaps from six regional markets, will appear in the February 2010 issue of Soundings Trade Only.
- John Burnham, Yachtworld.com