Brokerage Unit Sales Steady, But Values Trending Down
There were few surprises in the August report of United States sailboat brokerage sales, as reported by broker members of YachtWorld.com. Sailboat brokerage sales in August held steady at 523 boats, which is similar to the prior three months and only 14 percent lower than the 605 boats that were sold in August, 2008. Over the warmer months of May to August, 500-550 sailboats have been reported sold each month, which, collectively, is 20 percent fewer than in the same months in 2008.
Comparative valuations have fluctuated over the same period. Whereas market values were off about 45 percent from January all the way through May, they showed great improvement in June (-8 percent), but have trended down since (-21 percent in July and -33 percent in August).
One bright spot for brokers in August was the sale of mid-size boats, 36-45 feet, with 166 boats selling in that size range compared to 179 the year before (a decline of 7 percent). Valuations weren’t much farther off at $17.1 million versus $20 million in 2008 (a decline of 14 percent).
Year to date, sailboat brokerage sales are down on average by 26 percent. Larger boats, 46-55 feet, have experienced the biggest year-over-year decline in units sold (-33 percent) whereas small boats less than 26 feet are only off 17 percent in units and 12 percent in valuation. Although we reported a bounce in big-boat sales in July, the jury is still out on that market over the longer term. In August, three boats over 55 feet were sold for a collective valuation of less than $700,000, while in 2008, three big boats were sold for close to $5.5 million.
Are fewer sailboat owners marketing their boats because of the slow economy, or is the larger issue that there are fewer buyers? Next month, we’ll compare the average time it is taking to sell sailboats of different sizes in 2009 versus 2008, which will provide at least a partial answer to this question.
—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.