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D/FW housing market problem answer?


Kirk W
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Thanks for sharing Kirk. This is a story being played out all over the US, and it's having a huge trickle down effect.

Thousands of people are choosing to live in their RV because of lack of affordable housing. Some of them actually travel in the RV, most are living in RV parks without ever moving the RV. I saw this all summer long as we bounced around the west coast, where housing is incredibly unaffordable.

On the one hand, it's great that people are seeing they can enjoy life with less stuff cluttering it up. On the other hand, RV parks are not the answer to long-term housing. RVs are not made as well as even the most inexpensive sticks and bricks house. They depreciate fast, while houses appreciate even in a down market. Families that opt out of the housing market have one less way to build generational wealth over time. The trend of young people having a lower quality of life than their parents will continue until the problem of creating affordable housing is solved.

Another big problem with this movement is that in higher priced housing markets, like the west coast, these folks have filled up RV parks to the point that it's nearly impossible to travel as a full-time RVer without having a reservation at every destination. No more spontaneous road trips, now you need to book destinations months in advance. We learned this the hard way when trying to find a spot for one month at a time along the I5 corridor in Oregon, and later in the SF Bay Area, after our summer plans didn't work out. It was impossible to find a spot for more than a few nights at a time. We moved on.

I love that more people are discovering how fun and affordable RV living can be. But as a long term solution for housing? I don't believe it's the answer.

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9 hours ago, LiveWorkDream said:

I love that more people are discovering how fun and affordable RV living can be. But as a long term solution for housing? I don't believe it's the answer.

I believe that you see it very much as I do. And the article completely misses the fact that there are families moving into RVs because they wish to travel as they work and not at all an economic problem. The fastest growing part of the Escapees RV Club is now the Xscapers who are mostly working folks and many of them are families. There many of these families that are well above the median income level who could own a house but have chosen not to.

9 hours ago, LiveWorkDream said:

No more spontaneous road trips, now you need to book destinations months in advance.

That is the part that I miss most about current RV conditions & trends. I suspect that trend also plays a major role in the increasing trend of RVs designed to live off grid and without utilities. If I were preparing to go fulltime today, I would definitely shop RVs with solar, large tanks, and dry camping friendly. 

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In the past few years we have ended up with a "homeless" problem.  People are buying very old RV's and camping on the street.

So the city of Wenatchee has set up two "campgrounds" for the RV homeless.  I drive past one of them on a regular basis. 

The RV's are old, but the cars associated with those old RV's are fairly new.  Which surprised me, since it means most of those folks are working.  I suspect they owned the car before the RV.

Wenatchee is a expensive place with the median home price pushing $600,000 and a rental vacancy rate well below 1% and it has been there for decades.

The Forest Service has a homeless problem in tourist destination National Forests.  That has limited the dispersed camping areas on those National Forests.

For Kirk, it is more difficult to find dispersed camping RV's these days.  I have two friends that just recently purchased brand new RV's.  They are not into RV'ing. 

Both of them were shocked to discover that there was NOT a way of easily putting water into the water tank!!!  The RV's was designed to be parked in a RV campground with a water hookup!!

In my travels, lots more "homeless" folks in dispersed areas.  Worst yet, lots of folks with mental health issues are moving on to the public lands.  Last year, I made a swing through my favorite hunting and fishing areas and was surprised at the numbers of people camping on fishing and hunting areas, that were NOT fishing or hunting. 

Just looking for a cheap place to stay.

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The problem with dispersed camping has been growing for decades.  In a recent video Bob Wells said attendance at his Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Quartzsite was expected to hit 10,000 people before the BLM cut him off a couple of years ago and forced him to re-engineer it as a daytime only event.  He has over 600,000 subscribers and 123 million views on his YouTube channel.   HOWA's Facebook group is filled with people seeking to follow Bob's advice and ditch their unaffordable apartments for the dispersed camping van life.

People are starting to talk about another housing bubble collapse.  It will be interesting to see how this affects the RV market and the dispersed camping areas.  Will lower prices attract people back to conventional housing or displace more into RVs?

Edited by Lou Schneider
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18 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

It will be interesting to see how this affects the RV market and the dispersed camping areas.  Will lower prices attract people back to conventional housing or displace more into RVs?

I have been told that many of those who bought their first RV because of Covid are now starting to sell them which is starting to push used RV prices back down, that is only rumor as far as I know. If true, that could supply some less-used RVs for possible use as housing? So far from what I have seen here in north TX the people like those in the story have not filled the basic RV parks that sprang up during the big energy boom a few years ago. But I have done no research on this so base this on observation of a few such parks in areas that I frequent. It will be interesting. 

Edited by Kirk W
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We've been RVing for 44 years and have been through a lot of peak and down times but this is the first time we have seen so many people living in RV parks with families. The worst part is most are living in low end trailers like the one in the article and we know that after a few years what they will look like. And so many with kids with all their stuff and it's scattered everywhere along with vehicles that no longer run but that's the parks fault. Anymore we stay long term in 55+ parks (4 to 5) months or COE CG and dry camp as much as possible when going across country because of park overnight costs and lack of space. We have a residential frig and with a little bit of planning it works out without solar. I do see a lot of used RVs for sale in the future with a lot of people realizing they made a very bad financial decision, we already know one young couple with kids that were in that situation and had to go the bankruptcy route to get out from under their trailer and truck. Time will tell where it ends up.

Denny

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