4 Reasons Why RV Prices Are So High Right Now
1. High Acceptance of The RV Lifestyle
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns forced most people who were tired of staying indoors and wanted to travel to start buying RVs to do so. With the high demand for the campers, their prices went up and are still high because of continued interest in them.
This lingering need for RVs is caused by people’s need to travel safely without the risk of contracting the coronavirus. Because even if you have been vaccinated, you could still be at risk of getting infected as evidenced by the number of people who have gotten the virus even after getting the job.
2. Supply shortages due to lockdowns
When lockdowns took effect in 2020 and 2021, manufacturers also closed shop because they couldn’t get more equipment for assembling and producing the RVs. Besides that, regardless of whether they could make campers or not, it was impossible to ship them as ports were also under lockdown. For those that were already shipped got held up in transit.
So with fewer camper vans on the market and yet the demand for them was great, their cost had to skyrocket. Up till now, RV shipments are still low as compared to the pre-pandemic era because manufacturers are trying to clear their backlog before they ship out new orders.
3. High cost of production parts
RVs manufacturing chips are generally expensive, but the pandemic further pushed up their prices. This is because fewer factories were making them and those that were, had to incur high shipping costs as a result of the delivery industry getting disrupted, which mess they’re yet to settle as they still have to sort out their older orders.
On top of that, the shipping costs are so expensive right now, something that’s keeping the prices of RVs high.
4. Need for self-sustaining travel
Most travelers are now preferring to use means of transport that ensure that you don’t need external facilities and sources like a toilet, kitchen, running water and electricity. With these services, you can enjoy your trip without having to stop unnecessary and in comfort.
The desire for self-sustaining travel because it’s cheaper since you can sleep in the van instead of booking a hotel or lodge has also contributed to the rates of RVs being so high right now.
According to Condor FERRIES, a group of 4 people using an RV can save between 21%-64% in travel costs over traditional vacations.
Will RV Prices Lower In The Future?
Given the backdrop of the current RV market, anyone interested in the RV lifestyle has one question – are RV prices dropping anytime soon? Interestingly, we can’t answer this question without talking about the pandemic. Here’s why.
The Effects of COVID on the RV Industry
COVID-19 impacted virtually every industry, especially due to lockdowns and the surge in remote work. Right now, it seems like RV prices will continue to rise because of the increased popularity of remote work that allows employees to work while traveling.
This trend has influenced many to buy RVs and work while living the RV life, something that’s keeping their demand high and in turn, their price too.
Also, the pandemic played a hand in driving RV sales up. With high inflation rates and many people losing their jobs due to the pandemic, lots of people are unable to afford accommodation. They’ve therefore resorted to owning motor homes that they can live in anywhere without paying rent.
But much as those circumstances are influencing the high prices of RVs, there’s still hope of prices lowering in the future because of the following reasons:
Growth In The RV Market
Unlike before when supply was very low, currently more RVs are getting imported into the country. According to the RV Industry Association, 64,454 units were shipped in March 2022 as compared to 54,291 units in March 2021, which is an 18.7% increase.
As the year goes on, a higher percentage than that may be shipped into the country, saturating the RV market with more vehicles. The increased supply might result in lower prices especially if demand lowers.
Availability of Different Travel Methods
With the economy opening up since a great number of the population was vaccinated against the coronavirus and therefore attained herd immunity, other means of transport are back to functioning fully.
Travelers can now fly to their tourist destinations or take a train, which is a more suitable way of travel for some people who took to RVing only because they had no other option. Consequently, they will have to sell off their vans since they no longer have use for them, and low interest in them will result in lower prices.
RV shipping rates will lower in the second half of the year 2023 due to the market normalizing. The RV industry is also expected to experience a 1.5% decrease in shipments from 600,240 units in 2021 to 591,100 units at the end of 2022.
More people dropping out of the RV life
Some people are realizing that the camper lifestyle isn’t for them and are willing to sell their RVs. Because the concept of sleeping and cooking in tight quarters isn’t as glamorous as they thought. Also, few people buy the wrong RVs as they have no idea what to look for when buying a travel trailer. Therefore, they try somehow to get out of this RV life.
So when more used RVs come onto the market, manufacturers and suppliers will be forced to lower the rates for new ones. As a result, general prices for all RVs will drop.
Another reason that could force travelers to abandon RVing is the fact that fuel prices are rising because of inflation and aren’t expected to come down any time soon because of the Ukraine-Russia war.
How to buy RVs at an affordable price?
Much as prices for RVs are still high in 2023, you can buy one less expensively if you do the following:
- Buy from a manufacturer
The price from the manufacturer will not have a surcharge that dealerships always add to make a profit. So you will get your RV at a lower price than you would if you went through the middleman. To get campers at affordable rates, Ecocompor is the best RV manufacturer to buy them from.
Moreover, if you go for ready-made or rather mass-produced RVs by the company without asking for any modifications, their rate will be further lowered. Manufacturers buy production equipment in bulk, which makes the items inexpensive.
However, when you ask for alterations on the RV, they’ll have to buy the already expensive parts at a higher price because they’re buying a few of them.
- Opt for towables
Drivable RVs cost more than towable ones because they need an engine to move, which is costly. They also use both manual and automatic functions which require intensive work to fix and this doesn’t come cheap.
If you don’t mind towing your RV, then buying one is the cheaper option. Aside from that, maintenance of a towable is cheaper because it doesn’t require fueling or servicing.
- Negotiate at dealerships
If you decide to buy your RV from a dealership, do negotiate with the salesman because showrooms always add an extra charge of about 20-30% on top of the prices they buy the RVs from manufacturers.
So they’re willing to offer you a discount as long as they can still earn a profit. Moreover, you should purchase it from dealerships in states that don’t have a sales tax like Montana, Oregon, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Alaska. But that’s if you stay there because most states apart from Montana only allow registration of RVs for residents.
Also, read carefully the purchase papers to avoid paying for add-ons like an extended warranty that make the RV price more expensive.
- Wait for the fall season
Prices tend to go down during this season because of low demand since most people prefer to stay indoors. So, much as prices for campers are expensive right now and we’re also still high during the fall of 2021 because of high demand, things could be different this year-round.
The reason is that things might have gone back to normal by then and most people would be opting to go on holiday to other countries. For example, going on Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises or sunbathing in the Riviera Maya.
It’s advisable to buy RVs from October to February when winter is in full swing. Notably, there was a decrease in camper prices for towables and motorhomes in January and February 2022 because they’re cold months that tend to put most travel to a stop.
- Buy used RVs
Many COVID buyers are now selling their RVs because they no longer have a need for them now that travel is back to normal. While others are selling because they want to be able to recover most of the money they invested in their campers. We have a complete discussion on New vs Used travel trailers you can check it out as well.
The resell price of RVs starts depreciating as soon as you purchase them and the longer you take to put them on sale, the lower the amount you will get for them. So, as more used RVs are put on the market, their value will go down and you’ll be able to get a good deal.
However, you need to keep in mind that, unlike new RVs, old ones don’t come with security and a warranty. You will therefore end up incurring all the costs if you find any faults on the camper after purchase. For that reason, you should go with someone who’s an RV expert to check it out before you buy it if you lack much understanding about these vehicles.
- Is it a good time to buy an RV?
Now is not the best time to buy an RV because prices have been rising over the past two years.
- Is the RV industry slowing down in 2023?
The demand for RVs continues to rise, with more shipments coming into the country.
- Why RV prices are too high?
Due to the supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, the cost of RV production is now higher. In addition, more people are accepting the RV lifestyle, which increases their demand and ultimately their price.
RV prices will surely lower when things further normalize. But in the meantime, you can still buy RVs at affordable rates when you make use of the suggestions mentioned above.