Something occurred to me when I was looking at motorhomes on RVTrader.com. Not that I’m in the market right now, but if I were, I’d be looking for something no more than about five years old, with as few miles on it as I could find.
While I was looking, I learned something. There are fewer RVs on the used market manufactured between 2008 and 2011. That’s because the merchants of greed on Wall Street cratered the world economy, sending demand for luxury items such as RVs into a downward spiral. Fewer RVs were made during those years, which means there are fewer used models available from that same period.
Boats are luxury items, too, so I did some manipulative search techniques with different years before during and after the Great Recession, and the same thing is true of the used-boat market. There aren’t as many used models available built between 2008 and 2011.
As Adam Smith taught us, where supplies decrease, prices increase. I can’t say that will happen for sure just yet, but it could lead to used boats built just before or during that period to retaining more of their values, or at least mean sellers getting their asking prices more often than the “or best offer” they often have to take.
That’s probably a good thing for buyers trading in a gently-used boat. Dealers always want good-quality used boats, but if the manufacturing downturn during the Great Recession has the effect it should have, now they’re really going to want them.
It might not be a good thing for first-time buyers looking for those same gently-used models as a way to get into boating. The shortage of good used models might force their hand to a smaller new boat they won’t be as happy with, or — worse — an older boat that falls short of their expectations.
There’s no cause for alarm, but it’s a phenomenon that used-boat buyers, sellers, and dealers should all be aware of.