Park model trailer manufacturers reported nearly 10,000 shipments in 2005, representing an 8% gain over the 9,186 shipments recorded in 2004.
According to the Newnan, Ga.-based Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA), 2005 is the strongest period in the 20-year history of the park model business.
“Years ago, nobody knew what park models were. It’s a different story now,” said Bill Garpow, executive director of RPTIA, which ensures that the 400-square foot units are built to nationally recognized building and safety codes.
Garpow noted that demand for park models has grown dramatically during the past three years, prompting several RPTIA-member manufacturers to expand their operations in Indiana, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia, while enticing several other companies to enter the park model business for the first time in Kentucky and Nebraska.
In the past five years alone, the number of park model manufacturers affiliated with RPTIA has more than doubled to 46, with most being clustered in northern Indiana and southern Georgia.
Garpow said consumer interest in park models is also on the rise, noting, “People are realizing that park models enable them to have a weekend getaway or seasonal retreat cottage for a lot less than a condo or site-built home, particularly if they want to place their unit in a resort setting.”
Garpow said rising consumer demand for park models is also being supplemented by growing demand from campground operators from California to Maine, who use park models primarily to accommodate travelers who do not have RVs but want to enjoy the recreational lifestyle.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also been purchasing park models for use as temporary housing by victims of Gulf Coast hurricanes.