Dealer Sees RV Sales, Returns Rise as Pandemic Eases

RAPID CITY, S.D. – When COVID-19 first arrived in the U.S. in 2019, RVs seemed like the perfect way to take a vacation without hitting the big crowds, according to a report by KOTA-TV.

Cole Foster, general manager of Dakota RV in Rapid City, says his sales have been steadily increasing over time due to this trend. Nowadays, as the price of housing goes up in Rapid City, he’s noticed people are buying RVs for more than the sense of wanderlust they bring.

“A lot of the ones that are buying now are actually living in them,” Foster says. “[They] sold their house, and finding a house is very hard right now, too.” Foster says most people buying campers and buses to live in are spending anywhere between $40,000 to $170,000 depending on their needs, but adds RVs aren’t immune to price hikes.

“The average price range from even two years ago is about 30% higher than it was two years ago, from an MSRP standpoint,” Foster says. The supply chain contributes to this rising trend due to shortages in glue and sidewall material, as well as appliances like fridges and stoves.

“In the summer, we were down to four units last year, and normally we have about 30, 40 on our lot,” Foster says. “The supply has gotten a lot better, and we have new stuff coming in every day.” However, Foster adds many who bought their RVs early into the pandemic are starting to sell them back to the dealer for about as much as they originally paid for them.

He says most early-birds have already used them for their vacation plans, and since they’re not driving them anymore, they’re taking advantage of the market to recoup the cost of buying the RV in the first place.

“We’ve bought a lot of them outright this year, because people are getting, basically, what they paid for and the values have went up on the used stuff. So, if they’re not using it or (it’s) sitting in their yard, it can turn into cash pretty quick.”

See the KOTA report here.