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Brokerage sales steady for mid-size sailboats

Sailboat brokerage sales in August held steady at 523 boats, which is similar to the prior three months, but 14 percent lower than the 605 boats that were sold in August 2008, as reported by broker members of YachtWorld.com.

From May to August, between 500 and 550 sailboats have been reported sold each month. Collectively, that's 20 percent fewer than in the same months in 2008.

Comparative valuations have fluctuated during the same period. Whereas market values were off about 45 percent from January through May, they showed improvement in June (down 8 percent), but have trended down since (down 21 percent in July and down 33 percent in August).

One bright spot for brokers in August was the sale of mid-size boats, 36-45 feet, with 166 boats selling in that size range compared to 179 the year before, according to YachtWorld.com. Valuations weren't much farther off at $17.1 million versus $20 million in 2008 (a decline of 14 percent).

Year-to-date, sailboat brokerage sales are down on average by 26 percent. Larger boats, 46-55 feet, have experienced the biggest year-over-year decline in units sold (down 33 percent) whereas small boats less than 26 feet are off 17 percent in units and 12 percent in valuation.

"Although we reported a bounce in big-boat sales in July, the jury is still out on that market over the longer term," said John Burnham, editorial director of YachtWorld.com, in the report.

In August, three boats over 55 feet were sold for a collective valuation of less than $700,000, while in 2008, three big boats were sold for close to $5.5 million.

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