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Preowned RV prices continue to dive. Are we heading back to “normal” territory?

For several years, preowned RV prices were fairly steady and predictable. From 2017 through 2019, the average price for motorhomes stayed between $40,000 and $50,000. Towable units ranged from $13,000 to $15,000. Seasonal fluctuations were to be expected as demand dictated prices. But when COVID came calling, all bets were off. In October 2021, the average motorhome price peaked at $81,000-plus. Towables peaked at $24,000-plus two months earlier. What a difference a year makes! Prices are dropping like a stone. Are we headed back to “normal” territory?

Drama in the market?

Preowned RV market watcher Black Book doesn’t speculate as to what the future holds. But just looking at recent history is quite interesting. “The average sales prices for motorhomes and towables sold at wholesale auctions declined last month,” reports Eric Lawrence with Black Book. Motorized RVs averaged $62,070, where in September the price was $74,069. That’s a drop of more than 16%. Travel trailers and fifth-wheels (as a collective group) saw less drama. October values were $20,187, compared to September averages of $21,217—down nearly 5%.

pre-owned RV prices

Black Book observes, “The drop off in motor home values from the month before looks quite dramatic, but when you consider the overall trend line for the past several months, it is consistent with the patterns that we have been seeing since late spring; for example, it’s down 10% from August and 16% from June.”

A welcome pattern

“Consistent with the patterns.” If you’re an RVer looking closely at preowned RV prices, it’s probably a pattern you’ll welcome. For many, prices are still looking pretty high, but let’s compare it to last year at this same time. In October 2021, the average motorhome sold for $81,384; towables were sitting at $22,313. Motorized buyers, that works out to a 24.15% drop in prices. Again, less drama for towable buyers, but still a respectable 9.53% decrease.

Are we headed back to normal territory? Much depends on what you call “normal.” We’re not economy nerds, so somebody with greater expertise would have to factor in the matter of inflation. But any way you slice it, we could look forward to better preowned prices. That’s especially true if what many predict in terms of a sell-off by many of those who bought rigs while wearing “rose colored glasses” are finding that the reality of RV ownership is a bigger commitment than they thought.

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Sven Yohnson
1 month ago

My prediction is that RV values will continue to decline though 2024, with moderate seasonal price stabilization during the peak summer months. Covid isolation was a big factor in RV purchases and escalating prices in 2001/2 (I wonder how many RV down payments were made with government covid checks?). Many were first time buyers, not seasoned RV’rs.
As restrictions eased people have returned to their normal activities, and will unload the financial burden of an unused RV by selling at significant loss, or default. Either way it will be a buyer’s market, with good deals to be had. Supply chain issues and inflation will determine when and where RV pricing will “normalize”.
It doesn’t affect me. Mine is paid for, with no plans to upgrade!

Vince
1 month ago

Wash rinse repeat, Personally I believe the RV issue will be worse than it was in the 08 downturn. Throw in serious inflation, ridiculously high gas/ diesel prices and now interest rates are through the roof (Good Sam just removed the option for a loan for full timers, this is a big sign problem ahead) the idea of taking out a mortgage on your home to buy an RV, Well that doors closed too. Probably 80 or 90% of the people that bought during the covid Stupidity are so far upside down they couldn’t sell their rig for what they owed if they wanted to. This is why your parents taught you or should have taught you that these luxury items should be paid for with cash.

Michael spollen
1 month ago
Reply to  Vince

Have to agree. Good point. The only exception I would say is buy it heavily discounted in the year ahead. Although most of us can’t buy it in cash. Make sure the payment is comfortable. I bought my Thor majestic from cruise America for 20000 in 2018. Payment 244 a month. Doable for me. Cable with Comcast is 301 a month

Keith Johnston
1 month ago
Reply to  Vince

I agree, were looking for one now, but diesel costs are crazy. Were lucky we can pay cash. And can see that prices are coming down. Bummer people who are suffering because of this adim policies.

B N S
1 month ago

Come on Americans, We saw this coming on early….

Uncle Swags
1 month ago

It’s called supply and demand. Assuming rational behavior exists in the marketplace, this is how value and thus prices are arrived at. No surprises here that people are beginning to behave more rationally, at least with respect to RV investments.

Les
1 month ago

Should anyone really consider buying an RV made during the pandemic years when manufacturing was questionable?

Charlie Sullivan
1 month ago
Reply to  Les

I wouldn’t…but that’s just me. Fortunately we are still very happy with our 2013 LTV Unity. We’ve had no mechanical issues, it runs like a top and gets great fuel mileage. What’s not to like?

Brian Carrozza
1 month ago
Reply to  Les

Lee, we all know that RV manufacturing has been horrible for a much longer time than the scamdemic.

captain gort
1 month ago

I bought 3 new rigs in 6 years. Lost a lot of dough of course. But we did make 40+ RV trips all over the entire USA. Our latest is a 2018 and its the last one…period. We use it 8-10 weeks per year. When we stop or no longer can do so….that’s it for the RV thing for us.

tom
1 month ago

Drive it until the wheels fall off.

Jesse Crouse
1 month ago
Reply to  tom

Same here or if I find a sicker to over pay for it.

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