Some families faced with unemployment and uncertain financial futures are choosing to sell their homes and live their lives on the road in motorhomes.
MSNBC reports that according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), about 400,000 Americans live life on the road. Moreover, Kimberly Goza, who runs a website for families who live in RVs, noted that recently their traffic has increased 10fold — a consequence, some believe, of the recession’s toll on families’ abilities to afford mortgages.
Dave and Joleen Dudley are an example. When Dave lost his job as vice president of a software company, they decided to sell their sprawling house in Washington state and live with their three children in a trailer.
“Just taking care of the house, with the mortgage and the insurance and the utility bill and all that, we were probably looking at around $3,000 a month,” explained Dave. “Now we’re looking around $300 for the same thing.”
Joleen said that after Dave lost his job, she panicked about being able to foot their mortgage bill. But now their new life allows them to travel throughout the country while their children do schoolwork online. Recently, Dave landed a new job which allows him to work from their trailer home, but the family is still planning on remaining in the RV for the time being.
In a related story, the News Herald in Panama City, Fla., reports that motorhome sales rose nationwide for the first time in more than a year. According to Rick Harper of the University of West Florida’s Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development, people may be buying RVs more because gas prices are lower and summer homes are less attractive since the housing market crashed.
Indeed, Janet Watermeier, who is the Bay County Economic Development Alliance executive director, pointed to the increase in sales as an indication that the economy is beginning to recover. “These are really good signals that we’ve turned the tide,” she said.
But ironically, families like the Dudleys are purchasing RVs in order to help get through the recession. “Who knows when the economy is going to turn around?” said Joleen. “It could be next year, it could be five years, or 10 years. So we’re just making our plans with the best that we can go on right now.”