Is Now a Good Time to Buy an RV? — How Supply and Demand Impact RV Prices

Now could be best time to buy an RV and I’m here to tell you why.

Buying an RV is a huge investment. It’s not like buying a Snickers bar… wait a second… with the rising costs of well, EVERYTHING, even a Snickers bar is a hefty investment.

But when it comes to RVs, whether you’re buying a small teardrop trailer or a luxury class A diesel motorhome, you’re going to pay thousands of dollars for your new camper. That’s a lot of Snickers bars!

You also have to account for the other factors that affect your monthly payments. Things like interest rates and inflation both impact how much you’ll pay for your RV.

With so many pieces to the total price puzzle, it’s hard to know when it’s the best time to buy an RV.

Understanding Buyer’s Markets and Seller’s Markets

Good economies, bad economies — for more than 30 years Bish’s RV has been selling campers in nearly every type of market condition.

We’ve experienced times when economic conditions favored RV buyers, with low prices and low-interest rates.

We’ve also been through times when economic conditions favored RV sellers, with a high demand for RVs, yet very low supplies, which allowed RV dealers to raise their prices.

Our decades of selling experience have taught us when it’s a “buyer’s market” and when it’s a “seller’s market.”

This article will share what we know about current economic conditions and how they can affect what you end up paying for your camper, so you can decide for yourself if now is the right time to buy your RV— or if you’d be better off waiting for market conditions to change.

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Is Now a Good Time to Buy an RV?

In 2023, we are experiencing rising interest rates, increased inflation, and fluctuating gas prices. This is concerning. Many people are asking us, “is now a good time to buy an RV?” Our answer? “YES!!!”

Not only is it a good time to buy an RV, but based on the strong buyer’s market indicators, we believe NOW could be the BEST TIME to buy an RV. Prices may never be this low again.

Why are RV prices at their lowest? The Pandemic was a major influencing factor.

To fully understand why RV prices go up and down, it’s important to first talk about the simple economic law of Supply and Demand.

What is Supply and Demand?

Supply and demand is all about the balance between the supply of a product compared to the demand for it. If the supply of a product is equal to the demand for it, prices remain stable.

When supply and demand are off-balance, prices are affected accordingly:

  • Low Demand / High Supply = Low Prices
  • High Demand / Low Supply = High Prices

In the RV industry, RV manufacturers issue MSRP prices. (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) However, RV dealers can choose to sell their RVs at any price they want. Supply and demand greatly affect how RV dealers decide to price the campers they sell.

How Did the COVID Pandemic Affect Today’s RV Prices?

RV Prices in the 2020’s— a Brief Summary

To understand why now may be the best time to buy an RV, it’s important to get a big-picture view of RV prices over the past 3 years.

RV Prices were slowly but steadily rising from 2010 to 2020, but then BAM!! COVID turned the RV industry on its ear—and as a result, RV prices in 2023 are now lower than ever.

RV Prices in early 2020

2019 was a slow year for RV sales, with 25,000 fewer RVs sold in 2019 than in 2018. This prompted RV manufacturers to cut down on the number of RVs they produced for 2020. This was their attempt to keep a balance between RV supply and demand.

When 2020 began, RV prices were predictable and stable. Life was good. This did not last very long…

COVID’s Big Effect on the RV Industry

COVID-19 began spreading in late January 2020 and by mid-March the United States had a full-scale national emergency on its hands. People were testing positive for COVID on cruise ships and airplanes. The travel and hotel industries screeched to a painful, abrupt halt.

Despite the pandemic, people still wanted to get away and go on vacations, but they needed a safe alternative. The answer was simple: buy an RV!

In May of 2020, RV sales exploded. By June, RV sales were 33% higher than June of 2019. This is a huge increase and not one the RV manufacturers ever imagined.

The demand for RVs began to greatly outweigh the supply. RV prices began to increase.

RV sales continued to skyrocket and the nationwide supply of RVs began to dwindle. More RVs were being sold than were being produced and 2020-2021 became a strong “seller’s market” for RV dealers.

This allowed dealers to sell RVs at the MSRP prices and maximize profits. Despite the higher prices, the demand remained strong throughout the height of the COVID pandemic.

More RVs were sold in 2021 than any other year in history.

The RV Manufacturers Respond

With the increase in demand, RV manufacturers naturally began to ramp up production on their RVs. However, getting construction materials during a pandemic and complying with safety regulations caused time constraints and delays.

It wasn’t until late 2021 that RV manufacturers were able to begin cranking out a steady supply of new RVs to keep up with the high demand.

Unfortunately, by the time RV manufacturers began producing a large supply of RVs, the pandemic restrictions were lifting and interest rates were on the rise. The demand for RVs was slowing.

Post-Pandemic RV Prices

As travel restrictions and safety regulations ended, RV sales began to slow. In 2022, the supply of RVs continued to grow despite the reduced demand.

On top of this, market conditions worsened, as inflation grew more than 7% and interest rates began to rise.

RV dealers suddenly found themselves with an excess of inventory. Dealers began to drastically reduce prices to stimulate sales.

Competition between dealers increased and by mid-2022 it was clear that it had become a “buyer’s market” in the RV industry.

Why Now May Be Best Time to Buy an RV!

The fact is, there hasn’t been a better time to buy an RV since before COVID, and there likely won’t be for a while. If you’ve been waiting for prices to hit bottom, we believe that time is now and here’s why:

  • In 2022 RV Manufacturers produced more RVs than there was a demand for
  • In 2022 RV Dealers committed to selling more RVs than there was a demand for
  • RV Dealers now have an excess supply of RVs and have lowered prices to stimulate sales
  • Because demand for RVs is low, competition between RV dealers has increased, so dealers are offering more special deals and lower prices to get your business.
  • To help dealers sell RVs so they will buy more new ones, RV Manufacturers are offering Dealers rebates on hard to sell models so the dealers can offer even lower sales prices to consumers.

Why this Buyer’s Market May Not Last:

  • Manufacturers and dealers are working together to reduce inventory to reset and stabilize the RV supply.
  • Interest rates are expected to rise even higher
  • Banks are tightening up financing options, meaning you won’t see payments this low again for a while.

Additional Factors That Affect the Cost of Your RV

There are other factors besides monthly RV payments that also affect how much your RV costs overall. The two factors that most affect the total you’ll pay each month for your RV are:

  • Interest Rates
  • Inflation

How Interest Rates Affect the Cost of Your RV

Interest rates can have a significant impact on the cost of your RV, as they directly affect the amount of interest you pay over the life of your loan. The higher the interest rate, the more money you have to pay back on top of the loan amount.

For example, suppose you bought an RV for $50,000 over 10 years at a 5% interest rate. You would end up paying a total of $7,800 in interest charges over the life of the loan. However, if interest rates were to rise to 7%, the total interest you would pay over the life of the loan would increase to $11,500.

Right now interest rates are up, so you can expect them to increase the final cost of your RV. With the lower overall prices, however, you will still likely pay less for an RV now than you will if you wait for interest rates to drop, as supply will probably normalize by then and RV prices will increase.

How Inflation Affects the Cost of Your RV

Inflation is the general increase in prices and decrease in the purchasing value of money over time. Inflation causes the cost of goods and services to go up. This can include the cost of raw materials, labor, and transportation.

When inflation is high, it can increase the cost to manufacture an RV, both for parts and labor. This results in higher prices for consumers.

Additionally, inflation can also impact the cost of financing an RV because lenders tend to increase interest rates during times of inflation.

It’s important to note, inflation doesn’t always affect the cost of an RV. Factors such as supply and demand, competition and brand popularity can offset the effects of inflation.

In early 2023 we are seeing supply and demand reduce the effects of inflation. With the increased supply of RVs for sale and the decreased demand for them, the inflated costs to produce the RVs are not increasing the overall prices for RVs.

The effects of supply and demand are keeping the value of RVs at lower levels.

As supply and demand normalize, we will most likely see the effects of inflation increase the retail prices of new campers and motorhomes.

Is Now “Really” the Best Time to Buy an RV?

We sell RVs. It’s what we do. You may be thinking this is some ploy to sell you an RV, but we sell RVs because we believe everyone deserves a quality RV at an affordable price.

So to honestly answer your question: Yes!
We really do believe now could possibly be the best time to buy an RV and start making memories.

You can choose to wait to see if market conditions change, but as an RV dealer with over 3 decades of experience, our opinion is buying conditions may only get worse in the coming months and years.

We hope that isn’t true because we want to see more people have the opportunity to RV, but it is what we anticipate. It’s also possible the economy could surprise us–if Covid taught us anything, it’s that!

We know determining the best time to buy an RV is not an exact science. We hope this article has shown you how supply and demand, interest rates and inflation affect how much you end up paying for your RV.

How Do I Begin the Journey of Buying an RV?

If you’re unsure on what to look for in a new RV, check out this video from Josh the RV Nerd

Still have questions on if now is the best time to buy an RV? Talk to one of our expert RV Outfitters!

If you’re questioning if now is the best time for you to buy an RV and you’d like to see what to expect for monthly payments, check out this RV Payment Calculator!

Are you ready to start shopping for your new RV?

Greg Long Bish's RV

Greg Long

Bish’s RV Content Manager

Amateur adventurer; professional dreamer.
aka: The Bish-Blog-Guy