Brokerage sales rebound in December

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Sales volume for U.S. brokerages increased in December to 1,623 boats, up by 6 percent compared to December 2013.

According to YachtWorld member brokerages reporting in SoldBoats.com, it was the first month in 2014 in which the number of boats sold exceeded the number in the same month a year earlier. For the year, 30,065 boats changed hands, 5 percent fewer than in 2013.

The dollar value of sales for the year was $3.62 billion, down $317 million, or 8 percent, and December’s results contributed significantly to that decrease, with $171 million, or 38 percent, less in reported sales value compared to the December 2013 mark. Sales of superyachts for the month declined from 25 to 17 vessels and $265 million to $79 million in total price paid.

The rest of the U.S. market reported higher values in December. Excluding the superyacht sector, sales were up 6 percent, and total price paid was up 8 percent, or $15 million.

The volume of sales was higher in every size segment below 80 feet for the month. The strongest sales increase on a percentage basis was among boats from 36 to 45 feet — up 17 percent with 434 boats sold. But the gain that could presage a shift in market volume more generally was among the smaller boats; for the year overall, sales of boats under 26 feet and 26 to 35 feet were 7 percent lower, yet in December sales rose 2 and 3 percent, respectively.

Increased average sale prices also were notable in the under-26-foot group, up 14 percent, and at the other end of the market, among boats 56 to 79 feet, up 19 percent.

Average prices were relatively flat in other segments, except as noted among boats over 80 feet and also in the 46- to 55-foot category, which was down 27 percent in December even as sales volume increased 9 percent, to 127 boats. Pricing in this category has been somewhat weaker than in others throughout 2014, but December’s results are likely an anomaly; in November, unit sales were lower than the previous year, yet the total price paid was slightly higher.

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

John Burnham is editorial director of YachtWorld.com

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