The latest RV Market Commentary from Black Book found wholesale RV prices at record prices in April. The report marks the fourth consecutive month towable wholesale prices set new historical highs.
Since February 2020, before the pandemic began, wholesale towable prices rose 54%. Motorhome wholesale prices rose 47% in the same period.
“Prices will stop going up when everyone who wants an RV has an RV,” said Eric Lawrence, Black Book principal analyst – specialty markets. “At some point, everyone who wants an RV will have one, and then we will get down to a more normal market.”
Average towable wholesale prices in April were $22,214, up $393 (1.8%) from March and 63% from April 2020. Motorhome average wholesale prices were $64,474, up $1,507 (2.3%) from March and 76.8% from April 2020.
Volume also increased. The report found towable auction volume rose 27.6% from March. Motorhome volume rose 12.7% from March.
Lawrence said among the demand drivers appeared to be a consumer feeding frenzy. RV owners discussing recent purchases drive non-RV owners to consider a purchase themselves.
“Maybe it is becoming self-fulfilling,” he said. “Talk of demand increases demand.”
Despite manufacturers increasing production to historical levels, according to RVIA wholesale RV shipment reports, Lawrence said dealers continue to report inventory shortages.
“They do not have enough inventory right now, so they figure they have to go buy it at auction,” he said, “whatever it costs them.”
Pricing is working in dealers’ favor. Lawrence said Black Book sources hear manufacturers charging dealers more for new RVs. “Fairly substantially,” he said.
The increases are keeping dealers from deep discounts to MSRP, he said, raising dealer margins on new RVs. Increased new RV prices also enable dealers to boost used RV prices.
“Dealers really are in the driver’s seat on pricing, as opposed to customers,” Lawrence said.