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Slow start for 2011 brokerage sales

Unit sales in the U.S. boat brokerage market continue to track closely with five-year monthly averages. As in other recent months, February brokerage unit sales came in slightly under the five-year average and below sales from the same month a year earlier. member brokerages reported selling 1,699 boats in February, down 48 boats, or 3 percent, from February 2010. The total valuation of sales was off $36 million, or 16 percent.

For the first two months of this year, unit sales are down 2.5 percent, with 3,267 boats sold; total valuation is lower by 10 percent, with $365 million in sales. Powerboat sales were up a few boats in February, compared with February of last year, and are 1 percent higher for the year to date.

Where the market has slipped is in sailboat sales, which dropped 15 percent in February, from 361 boats to 307, much as it did in January.

In valuation by boat type, a different trend emerges. Although powerboats are selling reasonably well, the total value of their selling prices was off 20 percent in February and is down 12 percent for the year to date, with sales of $311 million.

By comparison, despite selling fewer boats in February, brokers of sailboats reported a valuation increase of 15 percent, to $31 million. For the two months combined, although 110 fewer sailboats have sold than a year earlier, total valuation is flat at $54 million.

In different size ranges, the strongest category, compared with the previous year, was the 46- to 55-foot group, selling 103 boats, a gain of 13 percent from February of last year. Sales valuation in that category was up 5 percent, to $30 million. For the year to date, the category is up 7 percent in units and 4 percent in valuation.

Most of the smaller size categories have shown small changes, compared with the first two months of last year. As usual, the largest size range, boats over 55 feet long, has been the most volatile in terms of valuation. Big-boat unit sales for the year have been relatively steady at 112 boats, down seven from 2010, but the value of the boats sold has not, dropping 25 percent, to $125 million.

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

John Burnham



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