By Nanci Dixon
As RV sales have exploded this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I can’t help but wonder: What is happening to all those RVs? Where are they now that extended vacation is over, working from the road has lost its allure, kids are back in school and 9-to-5 jobs are slowly opening back up?
I had predicted back in August of 2020 that there would be a glut of RVs on the market soon. (Perhaps not yet though, as Camping World is still advertising RV shortages. They even quoted an RVtravel.com article, “RV dealers running out of RVs. Service Centers are jammed” in a recent ad.)
So where are the RVs? Looking at a rather small open-air storage facility near us, I noticed that the RVs are piling up. Usually, there are only four or five this time of year. Ah, so that’s where they’re ending up…
Many municipalities don’t allow long-term RV parking on the street or in driveways, and a lot of homeowner associations don’t allow an RV to do more than load and unload in the neighborhood. So, all these new RV owners need to find storage for their new toys. But where?
I began doing some research across the country and found that the vast majority of RV storage places were full, and most had a waiting list. One facility in the Southwest said that they have about 20 calls a day looking for an RV storage space. She mentioned that people were saying that they had just bought the RV and now needed somewhere to put it. She could only offer them a place on a waiting list.
One business in the North that manages a number of storage facilities was surprised when they started looking across their inventory from facility to facility and saw that there were no openings for RVs. They were full.
At one East Coast facility, they only had room to store RVs up to 16 feet in length. My guess is that most of the RVs that folks just bought are over 16 feet.
I was aghast when I looked up storage costs! In the Phoenix area, they ranged from $90 a month for uncovered outdoor parking on asphalt or gravel, $170 for outdoor parking under a covered roof with electric hookup up to $849 a month for an individual, indoor enclosed 14×45 ft storage space. I thought that was for six months, but nope, just one month! Checking out prices in other areas and the range is similar. Uncovered parking on asphalt on the East Coast was up to $450 a month, but, of course, no openings anyway. In the past, outdoor storage has usually ranged from $30–$100 a month, and indoor storage usually falls between $50–$125/month (though the price goes up if you want heated storage).
Because of supply and demand, storage prices are going up and up… and up. New RVers will find that in addition to their loan payment, they are now paying a hefty monthly storage fee. Perhaps there will be a glut of RVs on the market after all.