U.S. brokerage sales slipped 2 percent in March to 2,554 boats, but the price paid for those boats rose 31 percent to $495 million.
The figures compared with 2,606 boats sold for a total price of $378 million in March 2012, according to YachtWorld.com member brokerages reporting in their proprietary database SoldBoats.com.
The increase in value was entirely attributable to sales of expensive boats above 80 feet, a category in which 17 sold for $261 million. The other 2,537 boats that were sold in March brought an aggregate price of $234 million, down from $250 million in the same month a year earlier.
Sales were relatively stable in March in the largest part of the market — boats under 45 feet.
Among boats under 26 feet, sales declined from 953 to 934, but the total price paid increased from $20 million to $21 million. Sales were level for boats 26 to 35 feet, with 916 sold, and the total value was also even at $51 million. For boats 36 to 45 feet, although sales declined 3 percent from 512 to 495, the total price paid increased 18 percent from $70 million to $83 million.
Prices declined in the larger sizes: Sales of 46- to 55-foot boats were down slightly from 130 to 128, but the total price paid decreased from $41 million to $35 million, a drop of 15 percent. Sales of boats 56 to 79 feet slowed from 77 to 64 —17 percent — and the total price paid declined 35 percent from $68 million to $44 million.
The sailboat side of the market continued a 2013 trend of holding up better than the power segment; 473 sailboats changed hands in March, a 2 percent increase from the previous year. The total value was down from $36 million to $35 million. Powerboat sales were 3 percent lower at 2,081, but the total price paid rose 35 percent to $460 million. However, the higher prices that were paid for superyachts masked a price decline in the rest of the market.
First-quarter sales in the U.S. brokerage market were down 5 percent from 2012, with 5,905 boats sold. Total value was up 17 percent, on $938 million in sales. Volumewise, the strongest part of the market was between 36 and 45 feet, where 1,255 boats were sold, up five from 2012; the total price paid was $184 million, up 10 percent.
A more detailed report summarizing recent U.S. brokerage sales will appear in the May issue of Soundings Trade Only.
— John Burnham
YachtWorld.com editorial director