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Park Models Surge in Popularity

According to a press release by the RPTIA, Americans are finding out about recreational park trailers or "park models," a 400-square foot cottage like RV that can be placed in an RV resort and used as a low-cost vacation cottage. These are becoming popular everywhere, from the hottest places like Arizona right through to the very seasonal Alaska.

In 2006, in fact, manufacturers reported 10,141 park trailer shipments, making 2006 the strongest period in the 21-year history of the park model business.

"The park trailer business has proven itself to be one of the most stable segments of the RV business," said Bill Garpow, RPTIA's executive director. "This is because our buyers, for the most part, are people who are close to retirement or have just retired, so they're in the strongest financial position they're ever going to be."

And since park trailers are used as vacation cottages, their buyers tend to have enough income to ride out the ups and downs of the economy, much like the buyers of the most expensive motorhomes, Garpow said.

Garpow said consumer interest in park models is driven by three factors: The rising cost of real estate, particularly in resort areas around the country; their relatively low cost, compared to towable or motorized RVs as well as site-built condos; as well as the increasing attractiveness of the units.