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RV Depreciation

Reader travelinggal from Florida asks...
(Why don't used RVs lose their value? )

Why the small depreciation on used RVs? As a single woman, I've been looking at Class B vehicles, such at RoadTrek and other vans, but even the used models cost $30,000 - $50,000. Why isn't RV depreciation as severe as it is with a new car?

I've seen ads for RVs of various classes that are 15 years old and they're still more than I would like to pay. I'm not planning on selling my home but will need financing and I'm surprised used vehicles aren't cheaper. Tires, belts, and hoses wear out let alone other parts.

Coleen, the RVing editor replies:

As someone looking to buy another used RV myself, I understand where you are coming from. The prices of some of these recreational vehicles, especially B vans, does seem high. Honestly, I think it is because that whatever we want to buy always seems to cost more than what we want to pay for it.

And, on the flipside, what we want to sell usually isn't as valuable as we would like it to be. Motorhome owners who are upside down on their loans will surely attest to this. Their motorhomes aren't worth nearly as much as they paid for them. They'll likely tell you they suffered a huge depreciation the minute they drove them off the RV dealer's lot.

Those $30,000 to $50,000 RoadTreks you are looking at likely cost $60,000 to $100, 000 or more when new. So, the value has depreciated substantially.

Class B's are in high demand because of the good gas mileage they get. That in turn keeps the price higher than it otherwise might be.

When comparing RV depreciation to passenger car depreciation, you also need to consider how many miles are on it. Many recreational vehicles only get used for a couple weeks during the year, or a few summers during the month. This is especially true for the smaller and less expensive rigs, as full-timers tend to live in the bigger coaches and higher-end fifth wheels.

Good luck in your search for an RV that fits your budget. There are less expensive rigs out there.

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Comments for RV Depreciation

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Van RVs and Depreciation
by: Dale C

The skin on bigger RVs can be opened with a can opener, not so with a van.

Working in smaller places is more difficult on a van, hence it takes more labor to build.

Most vans are custom tailored to fit the contour and must be done by hand.

Larger RVs are designed from frame up and can be done on an assembly line.

As far as depreciating, there lies the problem. Why are people moving from big outfits to smaller, thus creating demand and the market? Now you're into supply and demand and demand costs more. And the vans go quickly.

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