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Will RV Prices Go Down or Will They Stay High?

The pandemic and a brief manufacturing shut down led to increased demand for RVs and an increase in prices, but how long will these higher sticker tags stick around?

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When the world shut down about a year and a half ago with the spread of COVID-19, it forced many of us to change the way we did almost everything. From working at home (and, for some, schooling our kids while juggling meetings and deadlines), to staying home to play during the summer (pools and other backyard entertainment options were sold out nearly everywhere), to even the way we vacation.

While there were plenty of us who already loved our RVs and used them every chance we got, others came to see the real beauty of them because they had to. Turns out, they’re the ideal way to social distance while still getting out and about, seeing parts of the country you can only see by road.

This had new would-be RVers clamoring for RVs of their very own— ew travel trailers, fifth wheels, Class A, B, and C coaches were all flying off the lots. In fact, some RV manufacturers had trouble keeping up with demand. If you’ve paid attention to the RV market lately, you’re probably aware that the new demand made RV prices, including used models, go up significantly.

But what does the future of the RV market look like? Will RV prices go down, or will they stay high for a while? How will you know when to buy?

Airstream Trailer RVs

Image: Shutterstock

RV Sales from Summer 2020 to Summer 2021

Nearly every RV manufacturer saw a big boost in orders and sales as states started to come out of lockdown. Marathon Coach predicted a sales boost of 30 percent, while Airstream saw a boost of 11 percent over just 20 days in May 2020. This extra demand is what led to the RV prices we’re seeing on the market today. When you consider that many RV factories shut down for a number of weeks as a precaution against the virus, which limited available stock.

With 2022 models starting to roll out, we may see some of that stock get replenished, but there’s still a very high demand for RVs right now. It’s likely that RVs will continue to fly off the lot quickly, and at a high price.

Maintaining (or Abandoning) the RV Lifestyle

Even though the federal government is loosening its pandemic-related restrictions, it’s likely that the effects of COVID-19 will wear off any time fast. Some will gladly go back to normal, but others will continue to be cautious around groups and want to maintain distance. Beyond that, many of the new RVers will find that they enjoy the RV lifestyle, and may even choose to upgrade.

WIth that said, a big part of the population is dying to get back to normal. Couple that with people who realize the RV lifestyle simply isn’t for them (maybe they just don’t like camping?), and we’re going to see droves actually abandoning their RVs for hotel and resort vacations again — or choosing to travel again by plane. It’s possible that we see an influx of used RVs hitting the market. Don’t plan on getting a steal on one just yet, though. With demand remaining high, even used RVs are likely to hold their value well.

RV Dealership

Image: Shutterstock

What the Future Holds

Numbers for 2021 already show RV deliveries topping 500,000 (for the first time since 2017). If these numbers hold, it’ll even be a 5.7 percent increase over 2017’s stats. And the RoadSigns 2021 forecast thinks these trends are likely to continue. In fact, we could see sales maintain at high levels for another four to five years before they start to taper off.

Another factor that’s driving sales for RVs is a new flexible work environment that many companies adopted during the pandemic. With so many employers relaxing — or even doing away with — their policies on office time, workers are taking to the road. With a good Wi-Fi connection—which is available in many new RV models or with a mobile hotspot—these people are working anywhere the road takes them. In fact, some RV manufacturers are adding dedicated workspaces to their floor plans for the 2022 model year.

Predicting these things in a world that’s slowly trying to move beyond a global pandemic isn’t easy, because even as restrictions lift in the US, other countries (where many RV manufacturers source building materials from) are struggling. All of these factors are likely to change as we shift back to “normal,” and in some cases adapt to a “new” normal. These changes will take time, though, and for the time being, it doesn’t seem likely that RV prices are going to dip anytime soon.

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