Brokerage sales reach five-year high in May

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A five-year high of 3,518 boats were sold in the United States in May, according to YachtWorld.com member brokerages reporting sales in their proprietary database SoldBoats.com.

That represented an 8 percent increase from the 3,265 that were sold in May 2011. Yet the aggregate price paid for the boats, $330 million, was 40 percent lower than last year, when the total was $553 million, a difference that has more to do with the benchmark month last year than the month just past.

In May, sales of $330 million represented a $25 million increase from April, and the aggregate sales value was the second-highest of the year behind March. The main difference was that in May 2011, 30 boats over 80 feet were sold for an extraordinary $254 million. In May 2012, only nine boats over 80 feet were sold for an aggregate price of $31 million.

The only size of boat for which fewer sales took place was, not surprisingly, those greater than 55 feet, with 85 boats sold, a 25 percent decrease from a year earlier.

All other sizes showed growth that ranged from 4 to 18 percent. The leading category was boats under 26 feet, where 1,116 boats were sold, up from 948 a year earlier. Average prices did not hold up as well, however, dropping in every category but the 36- to 45-foot range.

For the year to date, sales volume is up 6 percent, with 12,610 boats sold. The total value of boats sold has declined 2 percent, with sales of $1.43 billion.

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

John Burnham is editorial director of Dominion Marine Media.

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