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Brokerage sales slip in September

The number of brokerage boats sold in the U.S. normally begins to tail off in September as cooler weather settles on much of the country, but in the month that just ended sales also dropped in comparison with September 2009.

According to reporting member brokerages of, unit sales were down 7 percent, from 2,420 to 2,246, and the total sales valuation fell 6 percent, from $222 million to $208 million. This was the third consecutive month that sales were even with or lower than 2009.

Because of stronger sales in the first six months of 2010, year-to-date sales figures remain well ahead of 2009. Close to 24,000 boats have changed hands, up 11 percent from 21,425, and the total valuation of sales is up 17 percent, from $2.03 billion to $2.38 billion.

The average time to sell a boat continued to fall in September and is now about nine months (277 days), compared with 292 days in September 2009. For the year to date, the average time to sell is 285 days, still two weeks longer than the 271-day average in the first nine months of 2009.

Unit sales in all size categories were lower in September 2010 by 3 to 10 percent, compared with September 2009; the lone exception was boats over 55 feet, which were up 27 percent, from 55 to 70 boats sold. Total valuation was down 8 percent among large boats, however, which was the second-biggest decline among size categories. The biggest valuation decline was among boats 36 to 45 feet, down 12 percent, with 501 boats selling for $61 million in September, compared with 554 boats selling for $70 million a year earlier.

Sailboat sales dropped 19 percent in September, from 521 boats to 423 boats sold; powerboat sales were off only 76 boats (4 percent), to 1,823. In total valuation, sail was down 26 percent, from $38 million to $28 million, and power came in 2 percent lower, down from $184 million to $180 million. It would be hard to identify this as a trend, however, as the numbers were reversed in August, when sailboat valuations increased 15 percent and powerboat valuations decreased 7 percent.

A more detailed report on September 2010 brokerage sales, including a spotlight on long-range cruisers, both trawlers and cruising sailboats, will appear in the November 2010 issue of Soundings Trade Only.

— John Burnham

Editorial director,


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