Economic bubbles. You probably remember the two biggest ones of our lifetimes. The infamous Dot-com bubble of the 1990s saw hundreds of tech companies achieving multi-billion valuations as soon as they went public, only to crash in 2002 after the industry plunged by 78 percent and triggered a U.S. recession. Then there was the housing bubble that burst in 2006 after housing prices more than doubled in less than five years, then slid to see homes lose more than one-third of their value seemingly overnight. This housing boom and bust was the biggest global economic contraction since the Great Depression.
On a similar albeit not as extensive note, RV buyers and sellers are white-knuckle watching what the RV industry is going to do. Will current upward trends in units sold and prices fetched continue, or has the bubble already burst?
There are several things to consider when answering that question. First, the unprecedented rise in RV popularity was due to another rare occurrence—a global pandemic. COVID drove RV sales through the roof at a time when people were seeking recreation without social interaction. RV manufacturers cranked out units as fast as humanly possible, and those with RV’s gathering dust were able to sell them for record returns. This bubble was further inflated by remote working, mandated at-home schooling, and low interest rates.
Back to the original question, has the RV bubble burst?
Before you start wringing your hands, remember a few facts that might give you hope that the RV industry is still alive and well. First, just look at how hard it is to book a campsite. Popular parks are often booked up through the end of this year and into 2024. More and more people camped closer to home when gas prices were high, but those high prices weren’t a deterrence. History has shown that people who love to RV will RV no matter what.
But if you have a luxury RV you would like to sell, is now the time?
Even if the RV climate remains cool, calm and collected, it’s hard to predict the future. Experts can’t seem to come to a consensus. RV manufacturers report putting out fewer units than in 2020 or 2021 due to inflation and continuing supply chain issues. From October of 2022 to October of 2021, there was a 43.7 percent decline in RV shipments. Industry wide, RV sales are down by 13 percent. But, on a bright note, if you’re wanting to sell a gently used RV that you no longer use or want, that lack of new inventory is a silver lining for sellers like you.
If you’re a buyer, now is a decent time to purchase if you’re in the market for a new or barely used RV. Drops in prices will begin to reflect the decreased demand. Also, the time of year you should buy should also come into consideration. Camping season for much of the country lasts between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so the prime shopping season of April through June is a time you might want to avoid looking for your new rig. The slowest time for most RV dealers and brokers is during the fall and winter, with a few exceptions in sunbelt states like Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
Incentives are bound to return.
Before the chaos that was the RV feeding frenzy during the pandemic, it wasn’t uncommon for consumers to get as much as 30 percent off MSRP when purchasing a new rig. At Motor Home Finders, we’re also seeing an adjustment in our selling prices and have many attractive models on sale at reduced prices, like this 2020 Newmar Dutch Start 4081 and this 2019 Fleetwood Discovery LXE 44H. But if you find yourself in the camp of someone who has spent premium prices for your RV during COVID, remember that RVs face depreciation in any economic climate. Working with an experienced, proven Broker is often the best way to get the most for your RV or to buy one at the best price—regardless of industry growth.
How can we help?
No matter which situation you find yourself in, we can help you make the best of it. Call us today if you have a Class A, B, or C diesel and gas RVs you’d like to sell without all the hassles of showing and advertising your unit, or visit our ever-changing, diverse inventory of hand-picked RVs for sale. Recommend us to a friend who buys or sells with us, and we’ll say “thanks” with a $100 Visa gift card!