Across the U.S. brokerage market we observed three market-shifting trends during the first half of the year.
Sales took place more quickly, and at higher average prices. Although an incrementally lower number of boats were sold, the boats were more expensive and generally longer.
The brokerage powerboat market has gradually shifted out of the under-26-foot range and the sailboat market has concentrated above 36 feet.
Let’s review the specifics:
A slide in small-boat sales, especially those under 26 feet, led to a 1 percent dip across the United States for the first half of 2017, compared with the same period last year. A total of 15,147 boats were sold, down from 15,304, according to reports by YachtWorld member brokers in SoldBoats, their proprietary database.
The total value of sales rose for the same period, from $1.97 billion to $2.17 billion — a 10 percent increase. All segments up to 55 feet shared in the gain, even the small-boat segments that reported lower volume.
The strongest segments on a volume basis were 36 to 45 feet, up 2 percent as 3,390 boats were sold, and the 46- to 55-foot range, where sales rose 5 percent as 933 boats changed hands.
The superyacht sector — boats larger than 80 feet — performed well, as 114 boats were sold, up from 103, and they delivered $536 million, compared with $448 million the year before.
A positive sign for brokers across the market was the speed of sales; the average boat listed and sold on YachtWorld took 256 days to sell, a period 3 percent shorter than in 2016.
The biggest improvement by this measure was boats from 26 to 35 feet, which sold 8 percent faster, at an average of 257 days.
Sailboat sales were virtually even for the first half of the year, as 2,605 boats were sold. The total value of sales and the average sold price rose by 13 percent with $223.8 million changing hands at an average boat price of $85,920.
Powerboat sales, which represented 83 percent of the market, were off 1 percent as 12,542 boats were sold. The total value of powerboat sales increased 10 percent to $1.95 billion and the average sold price was up 11 percent at $155,276.
John Burnham is the managing editor of Boats Group.
This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue.