Is 2021 the Worst Time to Buy an RV?

A woman with a red shirt stands in front of a row of RVs and she looks very stressed. Is 2021 the worst year to buy an RV?

The last year was more challenging than anything most of us could have imagined. After travel restrictions and heightened fear of staying in hotels, RV sales have skyrocketed. People have been looking for a way to travel safely, and RVing seems to be it! 

But is 2021 really a good time to buy an RV? According to experts, it might just be the worst time to buy! 

RV Sales Are Booming in 2021

Due to the pandemic, RV sales are at an all-time high. Dealerships expect 2021 to be a record-breaking year. That’s splendid news for dealerships and manufacturers, but not so much for consumers. 

From June 2019 to June 2020, there was a 10% increase in RV sales. Many travelers don’t want to fly during the pandemic, so RVing seems the next best thing. Additionally, gas prices have reached historic lows making road travel even more appealing. Gas prices in 2020 were lower than they have been for some time. 

Due to all these factors, the demand for RVs outstrips the supply. If you remember back to high school economics, this means RV companies can charge more for their product, and consumers can’t say much about it. 

A row of RVs for sale, but is 2021 the worst year to buy an RV?

Is 2021 the Worst Time to Buy an RV? 

With the pandemic still raging on, people are thinking about summer vacation. To say we need an escape would be an understatement. This has many people thinking about buying an RV. After all, everyone’s doing it, right? 

However, because so many people are purchasing RVs right now, you might run into a few problems. 

First, it goes back to the supply and demand thing we mentioned before. If you buy an RV now, you’ll probably end up paying more for an RV than you might in the future.  

Additionally, RV campsites can be hard to come by, thanks to everyone else on the road. These and other reasons should make you consider holding off on an RV purchase in 2021. Let’s jump into the details of why 2021 might be the worst time to buy an RV. 

6 Reasons Not to Buy an RV in 2021

Before you jump to buy an RV, let’s look at a few detailed reasons it might not be a great idea this year. By waiting a few months to a year, you might save money and avoid regrets! 

Here are six good reasons to delay your RV purchase. 

1. Explosive Growth in RVing Due to COVID-19

People can’t (or won’t) fly this year due to travel restrictions and virus fears. This means they’re taking to the highways, RVing across the United States. 

Along with skyrocketing RV prices, this explosive RV growth can make social distancing more challenging. Usually, RVers love to meet other people on the road. But this year we’re facing busy roads and campgrounds. Capacity limitations at popular destinations can also hamper your travel plans. 

2. RVs Are Selling Out Everywhere

Another major issue for RVing in 2021 is low supply. Many manufacturers had to close during the pandemic. Tight, enclosed working conditions made social distancing nearly impossible. And RV manufacturers don’t exactly count as essential businesses. 

While suppliers were closed, many dealerships stayed open. Dealers kept selling RVs, but there were no manufacturers to replace the dwindling supply. This created an issue in the supply chain, and manufacturers still haven’t caught up. 

3. Higher Prices and Longer Wait Times

The supply chain between vendors and manufacturers is also facing disruption. Manufacturers are struggling to find the parts and components they need to complete their RV builds. 

Pair this with sky-high demand, and you can probably guess what happened: long wait times, even for new RVs. We’ve seen some manufacturer’s websites listing 6-12 month waiting lists. By the time you get your RV, the pandemic could be coming to an end (HOPEFULLY!) 

The production delays and parts demand have led to higher prices for RVs. Given how rapidly RVs depreciate and how strapped many people are for cash, it could lead to a more significant financial burden. 

4. Used RVs Aren’t A Great Choice Right Now, Either

Since new RVs are in high demand, you might think, why not buy used? Unfortunately, this isn’t a great option either. Supply and demand apply to used vehicles too. 

Used RVs, particularly high-quality models, are always scarce, but it’s worse in 2021. If you find one, you’ll have to make a quick purchase decision, or someone else will snap it up. 

You never want to make such a significant purchasing decision on the fly. You might skip over getting a proper inspection, missing problems that you’ll have to deal with long-term. Buying without an inspection is never wise, but it’s even worse when the demand has driven up the price. 

If your recently-purchased used RV has an issue, you might have difficulty getting it repaired because of the parts demand. Instead of enjoying your RV, you’ll be making payments on something that won’t run until you get your new part–who knows how long that could take! 

5. Service Centers Are Struggling

If you aren’t handy enough to make repairs or service your RV yourself, you might also have issues getting into a service center. 

Service centers are struggling for a lot of reasons. COVID shutdowns have made it difficult for small service centers to stay afloat. Larger centers are so busy that it could be weeks or months before they can fit you in. You face long wait times and higher repair costs as a result.

6. Campgrounds Are Full and Employing COVID Restrictions

If you buy an RV in 2021, you might struggle to find a camping spot. RV parks and campgrounds are full months in advance. So if you haven’t already booked a campground for summer, it could be too late! 

Campgrounds are also employing COVID restrictions. Almost all the RV parks we stayed at in 2020 had closed all their services and amenities. Bathrooms were even closed at many parks, dictating the necessity of a self-contained RV. You’ll also have to pay regular (or even higher) prices due to demand, but you won’t get to enjoy many of the typical amenities. 

Plus, when you’re in the campground, you won’t get the true RV park feel. Things like chatting with the neighbors and letting your kids play at the playground will be suspended since everyone is keeping to themselves. 

Should You Buy an RV in 2021? 

We say no, probably not. While RVing is a great way to see the country safely, everyone has the same idea as you. You’ll find long waits and high prices for everything RV-related. 

We hate to discourage people from RVing, but we honestly think waiting might be the best call in this case. Plus, come 2022, there may be a massive sell-off of RVs, and you can take your pick for a low rate. Only time will tell!

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5 comments
  1. We’ve been planning this (full time RVing) for years – long before the word COVID even existed (hard to believe that’s even a thing!). We live in Alaska and are making a big “buying trip” down to Indiana this summer. Any thoughts/suggestions if we need to do it now (for retirement in June of 2022)?

  2. I have a travel trailer. I have a trip planned and require more space. So I will buy a fifth wheeler and a diesel truck. I either buy it now or in six months. What do you recommend? Prices are projected to increase by 15% so I don’t know what it will be like I’m 6 months! 20% more or back to what they are now.

  3. I want to trade my 1999 Monaco Diplomat 36b for something newer, bigger but I am going to wait. I can fix up what I have and see what comes around. With the high diesel prices I may be able to snag a newer one just anyways. In the meantime, I’m RV’ing in my old girl.

  4. I spent $125k living in a Franklin, Tennessee one bedroom apartment for eleven years. Then I got smart and I purchased a used, one owner, 2002 Holiday Rambler Alumascape, 5th wheel, 28RKD. I could not believe it! I realized it was all the space I ever needed! Now I’m at the age where I can’t use the steps to climb into my rig and gotta sell it.

  5. I like your video,its my first from you… Im doing my homework about travel trailers, to buy in the future before we retire and go rving for long periods of time around the USA.. looking for that perfect place/state to retire in,etc.
    I have almost decided on a floorplan,storage and i know several people say dont look at that …look at, tanks,batteries,frig size(which i am) other mens stuff…aka..my husbands stuff to look out for…especially the right ones!
    Until I found the correct floor plan that I know i want…i wont buy!
    I thought about renting a trailer for a week ..something we might be interested in but they are not for rent…im thinking only trailers that no one wants to buy are for rent… Not sure how many women are in the industry and that are being HEAR as far as what is good for a travel trailer…for couples,families. Ive been there.

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