Yacht sales: ‘Increasing volume, declining prices’


By Christopher Gerber
February 8, 2013
Filed under Features, Top Stories

U.S. Yacht sales couldn't hold onto momentum from 2011, causing the total value of yachts sold in 2012 to fall 2 percent or $67 million according to the 2012 YachtWorld Market Index.

Mimicking 2011, a strong start to the year was not enough to fight off a sleepy fourth quarter. The report from YachtWorld said that despite stronger sales for much of 2012 in the U.S. and an increase in the number of boats sold, the aggregate value of boats sold in the U.S. dipped slightly to $3.26 billion in 2012.

The total number of boats sold in 2012 was up slightly over 2011, with 29,444 boats sold in 2012 and the time spent on a sale decreased by 11 days in 2012 for powerboats, taking only 257 days on average to sell a boat.

The growth of unit sales in 2012 was attributed to growth in a few boat length segments, specifically boats under 26 feet and between 36-79 feet in length. There was a six percent increase in boats under 26 feet sold in 2012 and a 3 percent increase for boats between 36 and 45 feet in length. The report notes that powerboat sales in these segments were the highest totals since the beginning of the recession in 2008.

Across the Atlantic, the yacht market continued to struggle in 2012. Prices paid and total value of boats sold dropped for another year and after a slow year for sail and powerboat sales in 2011, the total value of boats sold in 2012 dipped to $1.70 billion and 6,635 units.

Sales in Florida, which had been picking up in 2011, experienced a decline in the total value of boats sold and the total number of units sold. The value of boats sold in the state in 2012 fell 11 percent year over year, from $1.57 billion in 2011 down $166 million to $1.41 billion in 2012.

Month to month, sales in Florida were down in 2012 compared to 2011. A fourth quarter rally kept the year-over-year decline for yacht sales in the state at 4 percent less than 2011, the report from YachtWorld said.

YachtWorld Editorial Directory John Burnham said in the report that price pressure on both continents contributed to the 7 percent drop in aggregate price paid in 2012.

"This was particularly the case in Europe, where the average time to sell a boat continued to rise and the significantly lower prices paid for sailboats, in particular, was notable," Burnham said. "Sailboats sold more slowly in the U.S., as well, but the overall U.S. time-to-sell averages fell in 2012, as the dominant powerboat side of the market stabilized."


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