National shipments of recreational park trailers were up 27.5% during the first six months of 2004 compared to a year earlier, setting an all-time industry record, according to the Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
“We’ve never seen demand like this before. It’s unprecedented,” said William Garpow, RPTIA’s executive director. “Virtually every park trailer manufacturer is reporting record orders and backlogs, and there’s no letup in sight.”
RPTIA reported 2,563 park trailer shipments during the second quarter, up 34.5% from a year earlier, and 4,687 shipments between January and June, up 27.5% from the same period in 2003.
RPTIA attributed the increase, in part, to heightened awareness as a growing number of consumers continue to discover the product.
“It’s still the best kept secret in the RV business,” Garpow said. “While condos or site-built vacation homes in resort locations typically cost $200,000 or $300,000 or more, park models generally cost less than $50,000, with the average price being in the $33,000 range. Add that to the annual campsite lease fees, which range from $1,500 to $5,000 a year, and you’ve got the most affordable vacation home option in America.”
Garpow said the market is also experiencing a shift in demographics, noting that 45% of today’s park model buyers have full-time jobs, according to the latest RPTIA surveys.
Several individual manufactures have reported gains, including:
* Breckenridge Division of Damon Corp., Nappanee, Ind: Breckenridge, the industry’s largest park trailer producer, reported sales are up about 5% over last year.
* Dutch Park Homes, Inc., Goshen, Ind: Dutch Park reports the company is more than 20 percent ahead of last year’s record figures.
* Log Cabin Homes, Inc., Rocky Mount, N.C.: The company, which manufactures log cabin-style park models, has had to quadruple its workforce to accommodate demand.
* Forest River, Inc., Elkhart, Ind.: Forest River’s park model division said demand for the company’s products are at record levels.
* Heritage Park Models, Inc., Elkhart, Ind.: Heritage reported a 40% increase in sales this year.