One of the casualties of the economic collapse that started in 2007 was the RV and RV travel industry. It was a brutal time for everyone in the business; RV manufacturers and dealerships went under, RV parks closed and people desperate for money sold off used RVs at bargain prices.
The RV industry suffered worse than other types of business as most people treat RVs as discretionary spending, using campers for travel and vacations. People facing layoffs and discovering they’re underwater on a house they can’t sell at any price do not put vacation travel at the top of their expense list.
The news wasn’t all bad for the RV industry. People forced out of overpriced homes by foreclosure found used RVs at bargain prices and RV parks welcoming of the steady income provided by full timers. Many forced into the lifestyle by circumstance quickly discovered the freedom and lower stress level associated with RV living. It’s a safe assumption they were already well aware of what a bad deal residential real estate really is before they hit the road for the first time.
By some estimates the RV industry regained all the ground it lost in 2011/2012 and 2013 is shaping up to be a growth year. Conversations with local dealers report sales are brisk, particularly in 5th wheels. Prices on quality used 5th wheels are rising and consignment inventory is turning over in days instead of months.
The recovery in the RV industry is good and bad as it means RV parks will be more in demand and you can expect to see prices rise. RV park owners will be holding back more inventory for short-stay customers which are more profitable to rent and parks will be more crowded. Prices on new and used RVs and dealers will be less inclined to deal.
Fortunately for the RV industry, the housing market didn’t learn anything from getting crushed in 2006; it’s still a bum deal for consumers. The recovery in the building industry will insure that even the most inexpensive houses will still have higher ancillary costs than an RV and one thing that never changes; houses are still nailed to the ground.
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