Big Changes ahead for those thinking of purchasing a RV Camper…

After reading three recent articles posted by RVtravel.com, assessing the buying and selling behavior I’m seeing in my own RV Concierge business, and studying evolving events that will impact our nation’s economy, I’d like to share some thoughts I have at this time.

“The virus” has rocked the RV industry – and it’s impacts continue through today (I’m writing this at the very start of autumn 2021.)

Impacts from “the virus” include 1) extreme demand for RV campers (of all types) since May 2020; 2) shortages and delays in the availability of parts and construction of new RV’s; 3) labor challenges – as noted in THIS RV TRAVEL article titled “Pathetic Quality…” employers have seen staffing issues which DIRECTLY impact the quality of campers being produced at this time (and likely since May 2020.) One manufacturer put it in these terms “I never know who’s going to show up for work from week to week.”

Based upon point 3 above, I would caution anyone about purchasing a 2021 (and potentially a 2022) RV camper (of ANY type.) As the RV travel article’s author noted, “quality has gone from bad to worse.” Of course, buying a new camper is almost always a poor choice due to rapid depreciation.

It must be stated that from my perspective, it appears the “bad actors” in the RV industry (and there are MANY) have become far worse since the ’21’s were released (in the spring/summer of 2020.) I should note, the good actors, while they have certainly had their challenges, continue to produce a good quality product. IF NOTHING ELSE, this is all the more reason to avoid the two big “multi-conglomerates” who collectively own MANY of the RV manufacturers in the industry.

To add insult to injury, prices are up – in some cases upwards of 30%. As noted in this rv travel article, all rv manufacturers have experienced increases in the cost of parts required to build campers and shipping costs.

All these factors detailed here boil down to…

RV buyers who are looking for a new 2021 (or 2022) camper are likely paying a HIGH price for a product that in many (though NOT ALL) cases is built poorly (and even MORE poorly than in the recent past.) Further, buyers of used 2021 models are paying a STEEP premium because of inflated NADA (blue book) values that WILL drop when demand declines (or collapses?)

Buyers of used campers (pre-2021),

while they are not impacted from the build quality issues that have existed since May 2020, are seeing inflated book values and sellers who want top dollar. I recently saw a dealer asking 21,500. for a Jayco camper model I used to sell as BRAND NEW in 2016 for 14,000. all day long! I can guarantee you that if you offered that dealer 14,000 for that (now) SIX year old model, he would decline your offer – at least until demand evaporates!

I’m currently looking for a 5th wheel, an Arctic Fox 32-5 for a client. We’re seeing sellers for a 2016 model wanting to accept no less than $52,000. Ready for this?? TWO YEARS ago, I successfully negotiated on a 2017 (same model) for $39,000. for a client! Do the math, that 2016, should sell for the low 30’s (at best) today – were it not for the “feeding frenzy” that started to occur in May 2020.

Just like all markets – nothing goes up forever

Inflated used camper prices (pre-2021 models) are the result extreme demand and limited supply – further exasperated by a lack of new units. Simply put, it can NOT continue forever – and based upon events I’m seeing transpire across our nation and the globe in general, I believe the “sellers party” is coming to an end – soon.

***AUTUMN IS HERE… If you’re living in an RV camper like I am, you may need an RV skirt. That was ME 4 years ago when I first got my current fifth wheel trailer. Here’s who I turned to AND WHY – My Search for a GREAT RV SKIRT***

What about all the recent buyers of RV Campers?

According to this RV travel article, dealers are beginning to field calls from “recent buyers” who are looking to sell their campers back. NOT trade them in – sell them back. Since the average camper purchased is junk, and travelers to major destinations have faced additional challenges like fully occupied RV parks and rising campsite fees, I’m not surprised that some (many?) of these buyers are looking to get out. BUT…

As I travel, I see all too many campers with delamination and water damage issues – much of this comes down to build quality.

Ask yourself what happens when hordes of sellers flood the market with campers they’re done with?

Yep, prices fall. And THAT will impact all used campers being sold (to one degree or another.) Which is why I’m recommending to my RV Concierge clients they postpone their purchase for a few months. Yes, it could happen that soon. I’m not good at making such forecasts and I *could* be off in my timing, but, not in my outlook.

As I write this article in late-September 2021, I’m seeing signs of a slowdown. Demand has not fallen off a cliff (yet), but what IF the markets (stock markets) correct? What IF some of the draconian nonsense emanating from our nation’s capital and isolated places like San Francisco and NYC takes hold? How will THAT impact travel (and overall enjoyment of life?)

My thought is it’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN

That is – when the RV market shifts from an AMAZING sellers market to a BUYERS market. RVtravel.com has laid out in these 3 articles very solid evidence that things ARE changing, the most recently built models are NOT worth owning (from most manufacturers), and the used market may (will) soon be flooded with relatively new, barely used campers – which may NOT be the units YOU want to purchase, but WILL impact the overall market for a used camper.

If you’re considering a RV camper (travel trailer, 5th wheel, toy hauler, motorhome…), and you want a “guide by your side, who also has your back”, then check out what I do HERE and feel free to call me (307 269 2546) to get your questions answered. If you visit my page that details my Concierge RV service, please do scroll down and see the reviews and comments I’ve received.

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6 thoughts on “Big Changes ahead for those thinking of purchasing a RV Camper…”

  1. Hi Alan,
    If you really want to know about a certain product, we’ve found joining a group like on facebook (I joined the Alliance rv group) and was already a member of Outdoors RV you will learn a ton of information by looking at all the complaints from the new owners. We love our 2018 Outdoors RV but noticed that the new ones have quality control issues just like all other new RVs. We were thinking of going larger and love a floorplan on an Alliance but NO WAY!!!!! I’ve never seen so many issues being talked about on a product. What ever happened to the pride and quality of “Made in the USA”?

    Reply
    • Alliance started with (I think) good intentions – but – as you’ve noted Terry, they have issues – serious issues. So for now, Alliance remains on my do not buy list. Yes, ORV has some knuckleheads working in their factory – but – issues remain at a FAR lower pace than other manufacturers.

      As to going larger – are you thinking 5th wheel? If so, my nod goes to Arctic Fox and I can certainly work with you to get one if you see value in my Concierge RV services.

      Reply
    • I too joined the Alliance facebook page, hoping to learn about the product. Instead it turned into a support group where owners can pat each other on the back for overpaying for the product.

      Reply
  2. Thank you so much for confirming what I already believed. We sold our 2000 Fleetwood Pace Arrow Vision 36Z in early summer 2021 and hope we got what it was worth at the time. It was in excellent condition with only 25,000 miles, almost new tires and lots of updates. What should it have sold for? Since then we have been looking for a fifth wheel and are completely discouraged for the reasons you mention above.

    Reply

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