The August 2023 market report for used RV prices has arrived. For the second straight month, wholesale auction prices for towable RVs have declined. Motorhome values have inched up, following their odd pattern over the last year. Falling trailer prices are good, and they may go lower, says our industry expert.
“One up, one down”
Eric Lawrence closely follows RV market prices for industry watcher Black Book. We’ve talked with Eric on a regular basis, and he notes that motorhome sale prices have been oddly predictable. “For the better part of the year motorhomes followed a ‘one month up one month down’ pattern,” says Lawrence. “But it’s likely that this modest increase was due to their average age getting one model year newer.”
Modest increase? At-auction values went up 4.4%, compared with the previous month. Motorized units in August sold at an average of $68,166, which was up $2,850 from July. Meanwhile, towable units continued (from a buyer’s perspective) a welcome decline, down 3.2% to an average of $21,053 for the same time period. It’s not unusual to see falling leaves signal falling trailer prices—it happens every year.
Comparing year-to-year sale prices between 2022 and 2023 also reveals some buyer relief—at least for motorhomers. One year ago the average motorhome sold for $69,003 and the average towable unit brought $20,532. That shows a year-over-year decline of 1.2% for powered units. However, compared to August 2022, the latest towable prices actually show an increase of 2.5%. That may sound pretty bad, but towable prices have slid down from over $25,000 posted in June. That is a spectacular 17% decline in just two months.
“Covid bubble” effects
So what’s it all mean? Eric Lawrence told us, “The big picture is that we are returning to a more normal market. We’re still digesting the effects of the Covid bubble with regard to the volume of units sold and the amount that they sold for.” OK, an adjustment. But to what end? “If you look at the two graphs you can pretty easily see when the effects of Covid started,” Lawrence points out. “Since those conditions are behind us, I’d expect the market to continue to edge down to where it historically lived.” History shows lower prices were behind us. We could use those again.