Though fewer small businesses are going on the market this year, those that do are selling for top dollar, BizBuySell reports.

According to the online small-business marketplace, a growing number of brokers say they're finding the same or fewer business-for-sale listings compared to a year ago.

Mike Handelsman, the site's general manager, attributes the downturn to owners waiting for the economy to improve before putting their businesses on the market.

"We're seeing a smaller supply of businesses for sale, but an increase in the quality of businesses for sale," Handelsman said in a statement.

He said companies that have remained successful throughout the slumping economy are fetching higher prices. At the same time, as weaker businesses are taken off the market, those that remain are increasing in value, he added.

The BizBuySell report tracks trends in for-sale and sold businesses in the U.S. by taking a representative sample of 50,000 business-for-sale listings on its site, as well as 1,400 recently closed transactions.

Published on: Oct 7, 2008