Brokerage valuations dip on big-boat decline

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In March, the 2,585 brokerage boats sold in the United States came close to equaling the 2,611 sold in the same month in 2010. However, the total value of the boats sold, $254 million, was $73 million, or 22 percent, less than a year ago, when sales were $327 million.

According to member brokerages, which reported their sales in the proprietary database, the explanation for this steep decline in valuation rests entirely on falling big-boat sales and an even sharper drop in the total value of those sales.

Among boats larger than 55 feet, sales were down, with 66 boats sold, 23 fewer than the 89 boats sold in March 2010. The total value of those was down $73 million, a 49 percent drop from the $148 million in sales for the size range a year earlier.

Unit sales were higher for boats between 26 and 55 feet. Boats from 36 to 45 feet made the strongest gains with 525 sold, an increase of more than 10 percent. The 26- to 35-foot range and 46- to 55-foot range made incremental gains, with 1,024 and 133 boats sold, respectively.

These March sales reinforce a trend set in recent months, where the middle size ranges have showed level or modest growth and total valuation of boats sold has followed suit.

For the first quarter of 2011, unit sales were down 2 percent from 2010, with 5,851 boats sold. Total value of boats sold was down 16 percent, from $735 million to $618 million. Again, the falling value of big-boat sales has been responsible for nearly the entire drop in valuation, with sales for the three months valued at $200 million, down 36 percent from $313 million in the first quarter of 2010.

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

— John Burnham

Dominion Marine Media editorial director