Reports from yacht brokers at our sister website, YachtWorld.com, are that the volume of U.S. brokerage boat sales has grown substantially in the first three months of 2010. So if your boat is on the market, or you were thinking of putting a For Sale sign on it soon, your chances of selling it at a reasonable price are probably better than they were six months ago.
The chart to the right tracks recent and historical YachtWorld.com broker sales of powerboats in the United States, and the red line representing 2010 sales clearly indicates that sales are up significantly from 2009 (blue) and also matching or bettering 2008 sales (green). The full-year chart that follows shows the trend back towards "normal" in another way, against a five-year average of sales. It's true that brokerage boat sales aren't as high as in 2006 or 2007, but they are certainly showing recovery from the worst of the recession.
I should point out that these figures are based on unaudited reports of sales made by Yachtworld.com member yacht brokerages in the proprietary database, SoldBoats.com, so they don't cover every brokerage sale made in the United States, but they do show a positive trend in sales.
According to the broker reports, close to 6000 boats were sold, compared to approximately 4600 in the same time period in 2009, and the total valuation of brokerage boat sales also rebounded dramatically for the January-March period, from $433 million in 2009 to $736 million in 2010.
New-boat sales have yet to make the same comeback, according to reports I've read. A recent story in Boating Industry, a trade publication, cites research pointing to a 21-percent drop in sales for boat dealers during the first two months of the 2010 compared to the same months in 2009. For their sakes, I hope that will turn around this spring. There has already been some positive news from boatbuilders rehiring workers who were laid off a year ago, other trade reports such as this one on Brunswick stock going up in Soundings Trade Only, and news from boat shows like last weekend's Strictly Sail Pacific, which many exhibitors judged to be their best in several years. (Photos of the latter available on the show's Facebook page)
With many people in the United States still out of work, including lots of folks who build boats, the economic picture is far from rosy, but it's definitely improving. And as I said at the outset, if you have a boat to sell, your chances of selling it are getting better (especially with help from Boats.com's helpful Sellers Resource Guide.) Then again, if you're thinking of buying one, the prices are climbing, too.