Sailboat Brokers Finish 2009 with Strong December
Sellers of sailboats could cheer for the second month running in December, as unit sales and total valuation again out-distanced sales in the same month a year earlier.
As reported by YachtWorld.com member brokers in the proprietary database, SoldBoats.com, the number of sailboats sold increased by 42 percent from 310 in 2008 to 439 in 2009. Valuation made an even stronger gain of 54 percent from $22 million to $34 million.
Across different size ranges, December’s gains were led by 40-plus percent surges in sales of mid-size and smaller boats, 26 to 45 feet long. Approximately $8 million of the $12 million increase in valuation was attributed to sales of boats of these sizes.
Looking back on a difficult year for brokerage boat sellers, after an extremely weak first quarter, unit sales made gains in the late spring and were stronger throughout the second half of the year. Nonetheless, brokers sold 15 percent fewer boats over the course of the year, with 5,411 boats changing hands in 2009 compared to 6,399 in 2008. Nearly all size categories showed lower sales of 13 to 18 percent; only boats under 26 feet showed a single-digit drop (8 percent).
Valuations didn’t improve against 2008 figures as quickly as unit sales, lagging throughout the summer, equalizing in September and October, and finally moving strongly ahead in the last two months. The net decrease for the year, in valuations of sailboats sold, dropped 21 percent, more than $100 million, down from $505 million to just under $400 million.
Compared to the powerboat market, which showed a 7-percent gain in units in 2009 (to 21,839 boats) and a 12-percent drop in valuation (to $2.2 billion), the sailboat market didn’t perform as well. Roughly 20 percent of all boats sold were sailboats and 15 percent of total sales valuations came from sailboat sales. By one measure, the sailboat market showed a bit more strength: the average time to sale for a boat listed on YachtWorld.com didn’t change much in 2009, increasing very slightly from 272 days to 274; by comparison, the average powerboat sale took an extra three weeks, increasing from 250 to 271 days.
—John Burnham, Editorial Director, YachtWorld.com
Sail America has teamed up with YachtWorld.com to provide a report of sailboat brokerage sales. Each month Sail America will distribute a report of the previous month’s activity and annual trends.