Given the economic conditions in the fall of 2008, it's no surprise sales look better in fall 2009, but the gains reported for November by YachtWorld.com member brokers were dramatic.
Unit sales increased 60 percent from 1,191 to 1,908 boats, and for the first month all year, valuations were up even more than unit sales - 80 percent, on sales of $222 million. Through 11 months of the year, unit sales have drawn nearly even with 2008 (down less than 1 percent) and valuations are down only 17.6 percent.
Powerboat sales have driven the recovery for a number of months and, compared to the previous year, unit sales in November rose 70 percent to 1,460 boats, while yacht brokers sold 36 percent more sailboats - 448 total. Increases in valuation were even more notable as powerboat sales were up 72 percent to $175 million. Sailboat sales did even better on a percentage basis, climbing 118 percent, more than doubling from $22 million to $48 million compared to the previous November.
Every size category showed increased year-over-year sales in November, including the larger sizes, which lagged until recently. Unit sales of boats larger than 55 feet increased 68 percent and, for boats 46 to 55 feet, more than twice as many boats were sold (130 compared to 62 a year ago). Year-to-date, sailboat unit sales of 4,973 are still down by more than 1,000 boats, or 18 percent, while powerboat unit sales of more than 20,000 boats represent an increase of nearly 1,000 boats.
A more in-depth report on November 2009 brokerage sales, including a spotlight on sales in Florida, the largest brokerage market, will appear in the January issue of Soundings Trade Only.
— John Burnham