Whatever You Do, Don’t Buy an RV Right Now

RV prices have skyrocketed. After a nearly two-year boom in sales, RV sales might slow down due to the brutal price hikes. Van life saw a major uptick throughout the COIVD-19 lockdowns and continued shift to remote work. Now, as popularity continues growing for camper vans and RVs of all kinds, manufacturers are taking advantage of the spike in interest. If you don’t want to overpay grossly, you may want to wait to buy an RV. 

Truck Towing Fifth-Wheel Camper Trailer
Truck Towing Fifth-Wheel Camper Trailer | Universal Images Group via Getty Images

You should wait to buy an RV

Starting at the beginning of Q3 2021, RV prices across the board shot up, ultimately reaching nearly 40 percent higher prices since this time last year. 

As we learned in high school, supply and demand drive prices. This is a simple concept that most of us can easily understand. However, although RVs are really popular, it is not common to see anything jump in retail price by nearly 40 percent that quickly. 

According to J.D. Power and Associates, published a 2021 Q3 report showing camper prices jumping an amazing 40 percent since this time last year. I know I’ve said it a few times, but I really want that to sink in. (The report includes data for the last 10 model years for each segment.)

Why do campers cost so much? 

Specifically, the report shows a 39.1 percent price jump in travel trailers from just September to October 2020. Over the same period, fifth-wheel values increased by 30.5%. Conversion camper vans, camper trucks, and other smaller rigs have seen a similar increase of 39 percent. 

The large Class A RVs are one of the least popular segments, but even they jumped 17.2 percent in MSRP. The smaller Class C segment saw an increase of 28.7 percent—full-blown madness.

What does this look like in cold hard cash? Gear Junkie figured the average price for a Class A motorhome in September 2020 was $180,000. This year, it’s more like $210,000. Chew on that for a while. 

Is buying a used RV a good idea? 

Class B Camper Van Parked In Desert
Class B Camper Van Parked In Desert | Josh Brasted/Getty Images

It really won’t help these days. Just like the car industry, the supply chain issues are keeping production low. Since the production of new RVs is so slow, that raised the prices of new RVs. This same thing trickles down to the used market as well. If people are buying fewer new ones, whether due to supply issues or higher prices, then the demand will hit the used market, in turn driving those prices higher as well. As long as camper van and other RV demand stay high and supply remains low, prices will continue to climb. 

Should you buy a RV? 

Not now. The market is experiencing a strange push and pull of what feels like an endless stream of automakers joining in the camper van craze, yet, there aren’t enough to fill the demand. It feels impossible that there could be such high demand, but the supply chain is clearly more fragile and important than many consumers ever knew. 

RELATED: What’s the Average Cost of a Camper Van?