The start of the new year is a time for plans and projections, including RV prices. Many potential buyers weigh whether this year will be right for them to sell and upgrade their current unit, buy again, or purchase an RV for the first time.
Here we look at helpful factors and industry trends that affect RV prices, especially those that might change in 2024, to give you a better outlook while preparing for the year ahead.
RV Prices in 2023
Let’s consider factors that affected RV pricing in 2023.
An increase in inflation in 2023 led to higher sticker prices on RVs at the dealership. But that wasn’t the only trouble it caused.
Rising inflation also led to interest rate hikes that inevitably resulted in higher prices for those purchasing an RV with a loan. As we look to 2024, interest rate changes will be a telling factor for those who will be financing RVs, especially as the Fed has projected interest rate cuts later this year.
Relatedly, higher inflation in 2022 and 2023 also led to a general increase in material and production costs, which affected RV prices. There are many contributing factors here, including the supply chain issues from 2021 and 2022. But, for our purposes, it’s worth noting how manufacturing costs affected RV pricing in 2023.
After the pandemic triggered a surge in demand for RVs in 2021 and 2022, demand in 2023 trended towards pre-pandemic levels, translating into a drop in sales by as much as 50% compared to 2022. This brought some relief to RV prices in 2023, as demand fell at the same time RV lots were full with new inventory, which had been a problem only a year prior.
In 2024, watch how demand changes as inflation cools and interest rates lower.
Curious to learn what other factors affect RV prices? See Ian’s breakdown below:
RV Prices in 2024
In 2024, concerns over inflation have tempered, and rates are expected to be cut three times in 2024 (and more in 2025 and 2026). That’s good news for everyone. It’s also a fairly recent turn of events — one to monitor to see its effects on the RV industry as a whole. For those looking to borrow to pay for a new RV, the outlook is certainly better if not promising.
Prior to this news, manufacturers had already responded to the changes in 2023 and adjusted their processes accordingly, including by making changes to the design and construction choices for 2024 models.
While interest rates are expected to decline, you’ll see 2024 models reflect an effort to lower the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). This doesn’t mean a lesser quality RV or even one that forgoes standard amenities. But it does mean you should watch for the manufacturer’s creative attempts to lower the ticket price of an RV as you shop in 2024.
In 2024, look for a prominence of decontented RVs on the lot. Decontented RVs are models with certain features, technology, or materials removed or adjusted to lower the cost or weight of the RV. Essentially, it’s a more basic or stripped-down version of an RV.
Buyers of travel trailers and fifth wheels can especially benefit from decontented versions when it comes to the overall cost. These units are typically more affordable off the lot and lighter in weight, meaning less strain on your tow vehicle’s engine and better fuel efficiency.
What does a decontented RV look like? Look for the following modifications as you explore RVs this year.
Decontented RVs might forgo costly technology that doesn’t significantly improve the performance of the RV. Telescoping televisions, DVD/Blu-Ray players, and indoor speaker systems? You may see less of those.
In 2024, RV manufacturers might seek to lower overall ticket prices by sticking to standard appliances and utilities rather than upgraded versions. Residential amenities are more common on luxury models, but standard appliances help keep overall costs down.
A smaller, more lightweight RV typically saves on material costs. The light weight also saves you on fuel costs.
Basic Cooling & Heating
Look for more standard heating and cooling units. This doesn’t reflect inferior performance, necessarily, just a priority on the most efficient, cost-effective systems.
Now let’s look at how RV designers and manufacturers have made changes to 2024 models in an effort to lower the sticker price.
Keystone: Classics Collection
As an example of how one manufacturer has healthily attempted to bring overall prices down, look no further than an exciting new endeavor from leading RV manufacturer Keystone RV. Late in 2023, Keystone announced the launch of the Keystone Classics Collection, a “back to basics” lineup of some of their favorite brands and floorplans in new lighter and smaller versions.
The Classics Collection includes the following models and floorplans:
- Springdale Classics
- Hideout Sport
- Bullet 1700BH
- Bullet 1900RD
- Passport 170BH
- Passport 190RD
- Arcadia Select
- Cougar Sport
Keystone evaluated these RVs with a focus on lowering cost and providing units that addressed the interest of RV owners — especially those interested in a more lightweight and towable RV.
“Decontented” doesn’t mean a reduced quality RV — or even a less capable RV. Instead, the design simply reprioritizes some of the many factors that determine if a particular RV is right for the buyer. In this case: cost, size, weight, and towability.
Other Factors That Influence RV Prices
Keep in mind that other factors affect prices beyond market trends, features or amenities, inflation, and interest rates.
We’ve already seen how manufacturers are bringing down prices by decontenting their RVs. These additional variables can cause swings in price from one RV model to the next in different regions. Consider factors like freight and dealership fees as you shop RVs in 2024.
According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, roughly 80% of global RV production has occurred in Indiana factories in recent years. To deliver RVs to dealerships across the country, dealerships pay shipping costs, commonly referred to as freight. These costs fluctuate depending on the dealership’s location, and they can affect the total price of an RV.
On top of freight charges, dealerships also have to account for other costs associated with an RV. For example, state and local taxes vary depending on a location and are required by law. Likewise, some administrative fees are required by law.
Consider, too, additional preparation fees (including propane and a battery upon pickup), licensing and registration, extended service contracts (optional), and optional add-ons or accessories.
Will RV Prices Go Down in 2024?
There are three main factors to continue watching in 2024 to see how they might affect RV prices and offerings: interest rates, inflation, and MSRP. While dealership prices will always vary to some degree, these three factors provide a helpful bird’s-eye-view of what’s ahead.
For example, if interest rates remain high, we could expect additional decontenting to bring MSRPs down. If inflation and interest rates lower as projected, effectively easing monthly payments, you might see MSRP change, too.
If you want to finance an RV in 2024, keep your eye on the monthly payment when determining the overall cost (a healthy practice regardless). Consider what percentage of that monthly fee is interest rate versus principal. With variable MSRPs and interest rates, you’ll want to watch how one affects the other.
But here’s hoping 2024 does result in lower interest rates, as currently projected.
The overall good news? RV manufacturers are working to build better, more efficient RVs at lower MSRPs to provide a wider range of affordable options for buyers.
Might they have less advanced technology and a renewed focus on the basics? Absolutely, but that can help you, the camper, find a comfortable RV that challenges you to embrace the analog.
What was your experience shopping RV prices in 2023? Do you have projections for costs in 2024? Let us know in the comments below.