7 Reasons Why There Will Soon Be a Glut of Used RVs for Sale

 7 Reasons Why There Will Soon Be a Glut of Used RVs for Sale

Frustrated that you can't find good used RVs for sale? You know that some manufacturers are reporting two-year backlogs for new RVs. And you know that right now, used RVs are hard to find.

But that is about to change… Big Time!

That's one of many things we talk about in Episode 351 of the RV Podcast, available in both Video and Audio forms.

Click below to watch Episode 351 of our RV Podcast on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel.

Or click the player below for the audio version of the RV Podcast, also available on your favorite podcast app:

Where did all the Used RVs for sale go?

You know there is an RV sales boom going on, right?

Well, actually, it's more than that. It's unprecedented in the industry. Depending on what kind of an RV. you are interested in, good RVs in any form – new or used – are hard to find.

Like the housing boom that has sent real estate prices to record levels, some people are buying RVs sight unseen, at full or even above asking price.

I saw an advertisement this week for a low mileage 2121 Class C Leisure Travel Vans (LTV) Unity RV that had been used as a demo model. Last December, it had a list price of $170,000. It is in such demand that the dealer – Howard RV in Wilmington, NC – is taking bids on it, auction-style!

I had to call and check this out.

“We have three salesmen here and they all have received multiple bids,” said Steve Hubbard.

I told him betting it will go for near $200,000! “I suspect you will be right,” he said.

Used Class C's from LTV have come into his dealership on consignment. “They have all sold $5,000 to $15,000 over asking price,” said Hubbard.

Why such a huge demand for Used RVs for sale?

The New RVs went first

In the industry, the rush of new buyers that went RV shopping last year are known as “COVID buyers.” Tired of being locked in, restricted from their normal vacation travel and aware of the need to stay socially distant, they started buying up RVs from dealer inventory.

And the rush of COVID buyers came after several excellent years of RV sales.

Then came the supply chain breakdown and parts shortages

7 Reasons Why There Will Soon Be a Glut of Used RVs for Sale 1
Supply Chain troubles

At the time RV orders were pouring in, RV factories had to shut down. Some for as long as a month. The backlog of orders started to pile up.

Soon, the production lines were without parts. Their suppliers had also shut down for COVID. Existing parts inventories were exhausted.

Overseas shipments stalled as huge container ships were unable to offload.

With the exception of travel trailers – easier and faster to build than motorized RVs, delivery dates on new RVs were pushed further and further back.

With New RVs hard to buy, Used RVs for sale were quickly snapped up

Not only did the number of used RVs for sale started to dwindle, but those RV owners who would normally trade in their units for new ones also started to hang on to them longer and longer.

Quickly, just as with new RVs, those offering used RVs for sale realized it was very much a Seller's Market.

And so it is today.

But not for long.

Look for Used RVs For Sale to again start showing up this fall

In fact, many are predicting a glut of them.

I think it is already starting. As we've traveled across the country over the past few weeks, I'm starting to notice more used RVs for sale on street corners and front yards.

Not a lot of them. But more than I've seen for the past year.

Here are 7 reasons why I think we'll soon see a glut of Used RVs for Sale.

#1 Reason we'll see more Used RVs for Sale: COVID Buyers are now selling

Been there, done that.

A lot of those who bought RVs last year can again resume normal travel. Cruises are starting up again. So is trans-continental travel. COVID restrictions have been lifted or greatly relaxed.

They “did the RV thing.” Now they can get back to pre-COVID habits.

#2 Reason we'll see more Used RVs for Sale: The National Parks are too crowded

7 Reasons Why There Will Soon Be a Glut of Used RVs for Sale 2
Full campgrounds are the norm at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore… like most National Parks across the country because of so many newbie campers

Our National Parks are drawing huuuge, unprecedented crowds.

They are so busy that you now have to get – in advance, for a fee – a reservation to even enter many of our National Parks.

And once you are there, parking lots are jammed. There's no place to park that big old RV. And even when you can, the shuttle bus lines are so long it is like standing in line for a Disneyland ride.

#3 Reason we'll see more Used RVs for Sale: There's no place to Camp

photo showing all campgrunds filled at the pictured rocks national lakeshore
Full campgrounds are the norm at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore… like most National Parks across the country because of so many newbie campers

Many campgrounds in popular areas are sold out for the rest of the season. To get a spot at some of them means you needed to have made reservations months and months ahead of time.

Such challenged bring a lot of frustration.

A lot of new campers who came to the RV Lifestyle last year are going to toss in the towel.

#4 Reason we'll see more Used RVs for Sale: Camping isn't what many hoped it would be

Camping can be a lot of work. It can challenge the best of relationships, having to coexist in a small space.

Today's RVs don't drive themselves. There are nasty chores like emptying the black tank that needs to be done. The Internet isn't always as reliable as it is at home. You need to practice water management. Not run hairdryers, microwaves and toasters at the same time.

Some may call it “Glamping” but a lot of new RV buyers are not as thrilled by it as they thought they'd be.

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7 Reasons Why There Will Soon Be a Glut of Used RVs for Sale 3
RVs in driveways…

#5 Reason we'll see more Used RVs for Sale: New buyers don't see them using it as much as they thought

Looking out at the camper sitting in the backyard is a daily reminder of how much it cost and how little they are using it. If it's in storage, as many are because of HOA restrictions, the monthly bill is an irritant.

Enough, already.

A lot of those new buyers are about ready to slap a For Sale Sign on it.

#6 Reason why there will be more Used RVs for Sale: To get maximum value, they need to sell fast

reason to buy a rv
RVs for Sale

There may be a rude awakening for those putting their Used RVs for Sale

The early sellers will probably do well, getting top dollar for their used RVs.

But once more and more Used RVs for Sale start showing up, those deals for over the asking price are quickly going to be a thing of the past.

We received an interesting call from one of our RV Podcast listeners that we shared in Episode 351. His name is George and he was a former Sales Manager for an RV Dealer. Basically, George said these new buyers were so anxious to get a new RV that they signed whatever paper was put in front of them.

They bought expensive add-ons like extended warranties and got little or no discount when they originally purchased.

Here's some of what he said:

These people are so buried in debt. They're going to be so upside down. They're not going to be able to get out of them. They didn't realize that RV depreciated 20% the moment they hit the curb. So if you bought $100,000 one, it's not worth $80,000 People are getting buried. Within the next three to four years is a lot of these people are not going to be able to sell these things to get out of them.”

George, former RV sales manager

A lot of those early buyers may have hastily bought in the first place. But they are not stupid. To get the most back when they put their used RVs for sale, they know will also need to sell fast.

That's why I think that starting this fall, the used RV market will have lots of inventory.

#7 Reason why there will be more Used RVs for Sale: New RV inventories will be built up

The parts shortage will ease. RV manufacturers will slowly catch up. The delivery time for new orders will decrease.

Eventually, starting maybe next spring, we'll see more reasonable built times and the better availability of new inventory.

So those who really want an RV will be more willing to wait and decide that instead of a used RV, they'll again buy new.

So those who do want to sell their used RVs will face some competition. They will want to sell before the order-to-delivery time for new RVs becomes more reasonable.

What does this mean? It means there will soon be a Glut of Used RVs for Sale

That means some good buys will be out there.

What do you think? Please use the comments below! And listen (and now watch) some of the most recent podcasts where we also talk about this situation.

In the meantime, maybe you need to think a little more about boondocking!

7 Reasons Why There Will Soon Be a Glut of Used RVs for Sale 4

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Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

15 Comments

  • I enjoy your newsletters. In regards to the “glut of RV’s coming”. I totally agree, and in addition to your 7 points, i also think people do not realize the cost of gas when pulling or driving an RV. A now with gas prices going higher and higher, will also add to people selling.

    Keep the great topics coming!
    Gail

    • Good Morning, Gail…from Bend, Oregon
      We bought a new 2016 LTV and have LOVED traveling in it. But now we are ready to sell. After seeing this article that we could get more or at least what we bought it for….we’re excited to try to sell. Should we try to do it on our own or have someone sell it for us? We can take all the help we can get on this matter.

      Thank you for all your info on camping the RV lifestyle.
      Cinda

  • Yup, you hit the nail on the head with this one. I had already anticipated that fall would bring something close to a collapse in the RV market but you did a great job of tying together the reasons.

  • Exactly what I have thought. Especially the parts about when the country starts to open up again and people are not as fearful as they were in ’20. And, they are a lot of work and the expenses of keeping an RV up. There really aren’t many ways to save money with them. There may very well also be a lot of used pickup trucks for sale also as people find they really don’t need a truck if they don’t have the camper anymore. Can’t wait for things to get back to “normal” (whatever that means) and we are not fighting crowds and people who don’t know what they are doing asking silly questions.

  • Thanks for an interesting look at post-pandemic RV life. We’ve got a 2015 Winnebago Era motorhome and keep going back and forth about selling now while demand is still high. But we’re having so much fun boondocking that we don’t want to give it up just yet!

  • […] Source link […]

  • Several years ago the cost of diesel jumped to over $4.00 a gallon. We had a Prevost Bus conversion, our main tank was 250 gallons (235 usable) and a 20 gallon diesel emergency tank. The fill up price could easily roll over $1,000.
    I believe fuel costs will “encourage” a lot of folks to unload their RV’s, and the prices will crash.

  • You covered the shortage of RV sites. Then you covered the shortage of RV’s for sale. So the second problem was somewhat a blessing in disguise. Imagine how much worse the RV site shortage would be if the RV inventory was available right now and anyone who wanted one could buy one immediately! RVing is very cyclical, I agree a glut is coming, but I also think the average number of RVers will still be higher than in pre-COVID days as more folks tried RVing post COVID then would have if COVID had not happened. Thus the RV site shortage will likely linger longer than the shortage of RVs.

  • And sadly, the big #8 that dwarfs the rest – the dreaded Third Quarter macro economic downturn. This certainly is a recurring phenomenon in the stock markets, “locking in profits” from the fourth and first quarter. And businesses too, start to curtail their budgets as the economic water get turbulent. Speaking of profits, let’s not forget that inflation has raised its ugly head with the Consumer Price Index up over 4 percent since last April and now anticipated to rise over 6 percent this year – ugg!
    https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CPIAUCSL
    Sooner or later, we have to pay the fiddler as we did during the Great Recession. Sadly, in April, 2018 Elkhart, Indiana unemployment reached 18.8 percent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elkhart,_Indiana#Industry
    And while no one can say exactly when the next “correction” will come, hopefully we have learned to be respectful when things seem too good to be true…

  • Biden and Democrats are determined to eliminate our freedom of mobility. By year end, $5 gas and $6 diesel are real. At that juncture, driving your car to the Marriott will become far more attractive for all the 7 reasons given. Democrats are working to destroy fossil fuel and regardless of the hype – there is no possible way EV will replace fossil fuel vehicles over the next 30 years. The mobile American society will be left without the ability to travel. RV’s at 7 mpg – that’s a joke.
    A tragic joke as Elkhart joins west Texas as the unemployment capitals of America.

    • Awwwww… still upset Trumpie lost the election? So cute!

      • Really you don’t think corporate greed .Government does not regulate cost of products

    • Stop making it a division of one side or the other. As RVers, we are all on the same side.

    • We aren’t destroying fossil fuels, we’re burning them. Lack of forest cover is making the earth’s surface hotter. Oil & gas are finite energy sources, and if we cared about the future ( a Democrat week spot) we’d be saving them for lubricants and finding something else to burn.
      Blindly consuming without regard for impact is common, but refusing to consider those impacts that are in front of one’s face, in other words, choosing to remain ignorance, is a major indicator of the conservative mindset. Short term GAIN (That’s a word they can relate to) is their highest priority, even if it destroys the very fabric of our survival.

  • Hopefully this post COVID trend will begin to free up national parks and RV places. I also see that many RV campgrounds are building and opening this fall, particularly in the Southeast., which may ease campground access. Any thoughts on this?

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