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RVs are looking like a new alternative investment opportunity

Alan Majchrowicz | Peter Arnold | Getty Images

It was the afternoon of Sunday, July 23 in a muddy field in Oxfordshire that I succumbed to the inevitable.

After camping in a cold and uncomfortable tent at a music festival, worn out by dragging my daughter's buggy through thick mud, I thought it was really time that I turned the style up a notch. And by turning up the style, I mean travelling around and camping with a little bit more comfort: a campervan, motorhome, RV, leisure vehicle - whatever you want to call them.

After some serious research I've now begun the slow process of carefully saving the pennies each month.

Volkswagen - synonymous with the classic VW camper - has spawned an entire sub-industry of companies that convert its commercial vans into habitable homes. But the German automaker has itself launched several iterations of its new VW California campervan.

Complete with all the latest gadgets and driving aids a brand new California can cost over £50,000 ($65,000) for its top of the range model. Mercedes also joined the market a few years ago with the Mercedes Marco Polo which can get even more expensive. But let's not forget the never-ending range of towable caravans and larger motorhomes for the likes of Hymer and Fiat. There's now even pop-up tents that descend and unfold from your car's roof rack.

Whilst it might not be the "ideal investment opportunity" that I'm telling my friends and family it is, there does appears to some serious value retention in these leisure vehicles. A VW California camper that's nearly two years old can fetch around the same price as a brand new one - presumably because you don't have to wait for the company to make it to your exact specification. Even a camper that's four or five years old can still fetch over £35,000 if it's been looked after nicely.

Some of the loans available also underline this fact. One campervan conversion company in the U.K. says on its website that "finance can be from 2 – 10 years as long as the vehicle is no older than 17 years at the end of the term." Yes, that means you could get a 10-year loan to buy a campervan that's already seven years old. Surely a stark reminder of the cheap money that's been floating around in Europe as benchmark interest rates hit record lows all them years ago. Would you get a similar deal on a car?

And demand for these don't look like they'll be going anyway anytime soon. The European motorcaravan and caravan industry saw a robust gain of 10.6 percent in new registrations last year. In the U.S., shipments of RVs are expected to hit their highest level ever in 2017, according to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, marking the industry's eighth consecutive year of gains.

In the U.K, Volkswagen told me that just under 900 new California models were sold as of the end of July, up 50 percent for last year and its Hannover factory in Germany saw a 37 percent rise in 2016 with 12,887 vehicles produced. VW in the U.K. has increased the numbers available to customers this year from the factory, and say they have a buyer for every one they make.