RV Industry Plunges as Demand Takes a Sharp Dive

recreational vehicle RV Industry

The results of the June 2023 survey conducted by the RV Industry Association reveal a significant decline in total RV shipments. The month ended with 24,095 units shipped, showing a considerable decrease of 46.4% compared to June 2022 when 44,942 units were shipped. The overall trend for RV shipments this year has been on a downward trajectory, with a current decrease of 49.2% equating to 164,830 units shipped so far.

Despite the challenging market conditions, RVing remains a preferred mode of travel for a substantial number of Americans. Over 44 million individuals have planned RV trips for this summer, indicating a continued interest in camping and RVing as a means of vacationing and exploring the great outdoors.

Craig Kirby, President & CEO of the RV Industry Association, remains optimistic about the industry’s future. He states that the latest RV shipment forecast suggests a potential recovery later in the year and into 2024. The anticipated recovery is driven by an expected increase in consumer confidence and the sustained interest in camping and RVing, which is likely to translate into higher RV sales.

Breaking down the data further, towable RVs, particularly conventional travel trailers, have experienced a sharp decline in shipments. Towable RVs, including travel trailers, saw a drop of 48.3% from last June, with only 20,670 shipments recorded in June 2023.

On the other hand, motorhomes, another significant segment in the RV industry, also saw a decline of 30.8% compared to the same month last year, with a total of 3,425 units shipped in June 2023.

RV industry Total Shipments Monthly vs. Last Year

RV industry Total Shipments Monthly vs. Last Year

RV industry Monthly Shipments

RV industry Monthly Shipments

These figures indicate a challenging period for the RV industry, likely influenced by a combination of factors, including economic uncertainties and changing consumer behaviors. However, industry leaders are optimistic that the interest in RVing and camping will drive a resurgence in RV sales in the coming months and years.

As the industry navigates through these challenging times, manufacturers and stakeholders are likely to focus on adapting to changing consumer preferences and investing in innovations that cater to the evolving demands of RV enthusiasts. By addressing these needs and leveraging the enduring appeal of RV travel, the industry can pave the way for a robust and sustainable future.

Surge in Demand for Park Model RVs

In contrast to the overall downward trend, Park Model RVs experienced growth in June 2023. The segment witnessed a notable increase of 7.7% in wholesale shipments compared to the same month last year, with a total of 391 units shipped.

The surging demand for mobile homes indicate a grim reality: the worst housing affordability crisis in a generation is crushing the 'American Dream' for countless individuals. With two years of negative real wage growth hitting the working poor and certain sections of the middle class hard, along with soaring housing costs, many have found themselves priced out of homeownership. This phenomenon is so evident that even Home Depot is offering trailers branded as "Gateway Pad," catering to those seeking alternative housing options amidst the affordability struggle. The situation paints a stark picture of the challenges facing a significant portion of the population in achieving their homeownership aspirations.

The average interest rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage was 7.34% as of July 27, the highest since November, according to data released by Bankrate. This means that the average starter home, around $243,000, is increasingly difficult for many to afford – and as a result, the American Dream is dying fast.

30-year fixed mortgage rate

The increase in borrowing costs has resulted in the average single-family home mortgage more than doubling in a year, assuming a 30-year fixed mortgage with a 20% down payment.

monthly mortgage payment

According to real estate firm Redfin, prospective homebuyers need to earn at least $64,500 to maintain a debt-to-income ratio below 30% when purchasing a starter home.

Starter Homes Disappear

But, buyers are facing a challenging market as affordable home listings across the United States are rapidly declining. Bokhari noted that new active listings have dropped by 23% compared to the previous year. This decline is attributed to homeowners choosing to stay put, especially those who purchased their homes during a period of historically low mortgage rates. As a result, the housing market is experiencing what can be described as 'complete paralysis,' as indicated by the mere 1% of US homes changing hands in 2023, the lowest level ever recorded.

Bokhari also highlighted the significant reduction in the number of affordable homes available for sale over the last decade, stating that the market's supply of such homes has been halved. This scarcity is adding further strain to an already challenging housing situation for potential buyers.

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