Solid First-Quarter Gains in U.S. Sailboat Brokerage Market
The first quarter of 2010 ended with U.S. brokerage sailboat sales outperforming the first quarter of 2009 both in the number of boats sold and the total valuation of those boats. According to sales reported by yacht brokerage members of YachtWorld.com, unit sales increased from 938 boats in 2009 to 1235 boats in 2010, a 32 percent gain. Valuation of the sales increased even more, by 47 percent, from $66 million to $97 million.
This month’s report for Sail America combines the February and March data, which reflects the fourth and fifth consecutive months in which brokerage unit sales and valuation increased over the same month of the previous year. Comparing February ’09 to February ’10, the number of boats sold picked up from 260 to 367 and, for March, made an even bigger jump, from 388 to 505 boats. The value of the boats sold grew in February from $16 million to $28 million, and in March, from $28 million to $41 million. And although unit sales in March ’10 were still slightly below March ’08, total valuation was $1 million higher.
A look at sailboat sales by length indicates that strong sales in the 26- to 45-foot size ranges have been a key driver in the sailboat market’s recovery, with about 1,000 boats sold year to date for $70 million, which represents unit increases of close to 30 percent and valuation gains on the order of 40 percent. In the last two months, big-boat sales have also begun gathering steam, and year to date, 97 boats over 46 feet have sold, compared to 62 a year ago; valuation increased from $15 million to $24 million.
Sailboats are moving again at levels similar to early 2008, although the market is still 20 percent or more below the last strong sales year, 2007. One notable indicator of how slow business has been is showing up in the average time it’s taken to sell the boats sold recently. Boats sold in the first quarter averaged 309 days on the market, which is up 16 percent from the 267-day average in the first quarter of ‘09.
—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.