Motorhome values declined and towable values rose in January as forecasted recreational vehicle shipments fell due to replenished inventory and slowing consumer demand.
The average motorhome selling price clocked in at $67,539 in January, down 8.1% sequentially and down 1.9% year over year, according to Black Book. The decline follows two months of value increases, including a 7.1% sequential rise in December. Motorhome values have fluctuated in contrast with normal seasonality for the past year.
Auction volume on Motorhomes increased 12.3% month over month in January, with an average model year of 2012.
Meanwhile, towable values — including travel trailers and fifth wheels — rose for the second consecutive month, with January’s average selling price of $19,541 up 1.8% MoM but down 10.6% YoY.
RV values declined YoY partly due to pandemic-induced demand, Eric Lawrence, Black Book’s principal analyst of specialty vehicles, told Auto Finance News. “The overall curve is going to be somewhat of a decline as we digest all the RVs that were sold during the pandemic,” he said.
Towable auction volume also increased, up 6.2% MoM, with an average model year of 2017.
RV prices are likely to return to seasonal patterns rather than tick up in the spring, Lawrence said.
“Typically, we would see a little bump in the spring, but since we’re in that depreciating market overall, there’s talk of recessions, money’s tight, and interest rates are up … we may just see prices not fall as quickly as they might otherwise,” he said.
Still, there is optimism in the RV industry in the face of current macroeconomic conditions. “[Dealers are] optimistic, but unless the economy does something, either a lot better or a lot worse than what they’re projecting, I would expect a good year,” Lawrence said.
Registrations, shipments decline as inventory normalizes
January North American RV retail registrations declined to 19,664 units, down 31% YoY. Registrations declined 11% compared with 2019’s pre-pandemic data, including towables down 13% and motorhomes down 1% over the same period, according to preliminary data from Statistical Surveys.
RV shipments are projected to range from 324,300 to 344,000 units in 2023, with a mid-point of 334,100 units, a 32% decline compared with wholesale shipments in 2022, according to the RV Industry Association.
“Current market conditions — an uncertain economy, high inflation and rising interest rates … are offset by encouraging reports of strong attendance at retail RV shows and traffic on RV dealer lots, both indicating that consumer interest in RV travel and camping has not diminished,” RV Industry Association President and Chief Executive Craig Kirby said in a statement.
“While we expect shipments to move lower through the first half of 2023 compared to 2022, we see the pace of that decline easing and beginning to recover in the latter part of the year,” he said.
Shipments are expected to decline while RV dealers focus on maintaining their inventory rather than building it, Black Book’s Lawrence said.
“Starting in the last part of 2022, you had shipments dropping because they were starting to get all the dealers to where they needed, now … they’re looking at a pretty good decline from 2022,” he said.
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