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Old 02-28-2010, 08:18 PM   #1
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Used Airstream Market Observations

As I wound down my 6-month trailer search this week, a few observations from an Airstream newbie on the state of the used AS market during this economic reset. While I'm new to Airstreams, I'm quite experienced at buying new and pre-owned luxury vehicles. I found the past year to be anything but the buyers market I expected and this was mostly due to the following:
  • Most Airstream owners seem to have no clue what the going street price is for their rig. Many of the private owners with 2006-2008 models had asking prices higher than dealers and several with 2-year old campers listed a higher number than a dealer's listed sale price on a new trailer. Owners on their 3rd Airstream tended to be more knowledgable regarding pricing than the 1st or 2nd time owners to whom I spoke.
  • Owners with 2-3 year old financed trailers are likely to be underwater. Dealers have told me a lot of 100% financing went on during the bubble. These private sellers are required to price their trailers to cover their RV loan - even if that price is $8k above the going street price and they've had their RV on the market for 7 months.
  • Airstreams depreciate. I know they're iconic and hold their value better than other trailers, but newer Airstreams do go down more than $2500 a year, especially in this market. You wouldn't know that by looking at recent asking prices for 2007 and 2008 models from private sellers.
  • This market really needs a Blue Book. NADA is useless for Airstream pricing and a specialized book on trailer values covering at least the past 10 years would be helpful. Vintage is a different market but I'm surprised there is no accurate resale pricing guide for recent AS models.

My non-scientific conclusion? If you're looking for a used trailer, focus on 2003-2006 models from an owner with a clear title. Otherwise, smartly shop your desired model nationwide and buy new from a dealer. I was fortunate to finally locate a new 2009 Flying Cloud 25FB at a great price and I'm happy to join the Airstream Club.

Happy Shopping!
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:31 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. Pictures yet? I,m sure your info will help others still searching. Susan
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:37 PM   #3
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many laws of supply and demand.greater the price indicates demand, ex. bambi in demand double the price
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lahontancut View Post
...As I wound down my 6-month trailer search this week, a few observations from an Airstream newbie on the state of the used AS market during this economic reset...
welcome and congrats on finding your stream.

i'd agree with most of your observations.

the problem with ANY book on pricing is that so few streams were made during these years

and spread on over so MANY models and trims and lengths and accessories...

that even if EVERY transaction was recorded some where the price variation would be huge relative to the sample size.

such that AVERAGE price would be useless just like it is NOW in the book that attempt to provide new/used pricing.

there are also huge regional variations on sales price for the exact same models...

i have seen 5-10,000$ differences for the SAME unit in cali' versus tennessee for example.

also the discount from msrp on new is widely varied.

many buyers tend to 'forget' they purchased an 80k$ trailer for 60$ when they decide to sell it...

and so on.

condition, options and COLORs inside are huge factors for those shopping 2-3 year old units.

anyway welcome to THIS CLUB here and throw up some pix soon!

cheers
2air'
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:29 AM   #5
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Like many other things, used Airstream trailers are worth exactly what someone else will pay for them.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:51 AM   #6
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if the airstream trailer has a 30-40 year life expectancy how would it depreciate as fast as nada guides indicate?i see people asking as much for a vintage trailer as the book indicates my 2007 classic is worth.fortunately i have no intention of selling ,but when i do im asking top buck.with the recession killing the luxury market my 75th anniv.will be holding value as i see it.ask some of the airstream dealers that are selling 2009 models at a 20 percent discount what they would trade the vehicle back in for?probably 50 percent of original msrp .these books are just a guide not reality when pricing airstreams,and in my opinion unless it is a distress sale you cant buy anywhere close to these #s.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:54 AM   #7
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I found the same thing while shopping for a Bambi CCD. I looked online for @ 6 months before I struck a deal that worked for me and I had to drive 2600 miles to get it. I found the oposite to be true on pricing. Most dealers had a 2006 -2007 priced closer to a new 2008-2009 leftover. Colonial had the best price on a 2009 but I didn't want to borrow money to buy it. I got mine for 27,000 and it included EVERYTHING! The wd hitch, p3brake controller, all hoses, adaptors, cords and even the flatware, dishes and pots and pans! the owner paid cash for his and used it 3 times. I had it inspected before I paid for it and I'm pretty darn happy to be the new owner. It had the av upgrades etc. It also looks like new! The dealers for a similar model wouldn't budge fro 33-38. So the idea is to be pacient. I agree it's a sellers market for smaller Airstreams. I saw a 2000 Bambi sell on Ebay for 26,000! Enjoy your new toy.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lahontancut View Post
Most Airstream owners seem to have no clue what the going street price is for their rig.
That's been true with any used car/truck/home buying experience... most people think they've got the only one...

Before we bought new, we had no luck in the used market. It seemed like everything we found was either a major renovation unit (I was ready to take the plunge, with the help of everyone here... but DW would have none of it), or totally overpriced newer used. One in particular, sticks out in my mind- a 2005 Classic D 30' (it was summer '07), in mint condition, all the factory options, not a spot of filiform. Owner wanted $59k.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:19 AM   #9
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I sold a trailer last year. I was told by several people that I was asking way too much for it and would never get my price. Sorry boys, I was patient, the right buyer came along and I sold it for my asking price.

I agree with one of the above posters..it is worth exactly what someone else is willing to pay for it.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:31 AM   #10
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Well they are in at Colonial - and they are taking some to the RV Show in Atlantic City in a couple of weeks. I'm almost tempted to go - hoping I won't like the look nearly as well when I see it in person. If you think gently USED units are overpriced, you gotta look at what they did to the price of the Serenity vs the Ocean Breeze. YIKES!

The 27 FB CCD looks boooootiful in the pictures, but at $80K even with a decent discount I will be sitting on the sidelines drooling for a while longer. I "could" afford it - but then again I could restore an older classic and build my own financial Serenity for easily $30K less.

Yes, I do buy about one lottery ticket per month. So in a very small sense, I might just buy one. My sister will CRAP when she gets my old trailer and tow vehicle for her present!

Paula
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:35 AM   #11
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The market tends to flow down in the winter and up in the Spring also.
The only significant change in the value of older Airstreams is the considerable and understandable dive in Motorhome prices over th past two or three years.
A vintage Airstream is still a pretty good value and from what I have seen they do not depreciate much.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:52 AM   #12
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A friend of mine here in Texas just bought a '96 25' for $16,800. The seller had people beating his door down to buy it, but my friend was lucky enough to be the first. A very nice trailer inside, but had a few weather related issues on the outside....just normal aging.

At the time, he owned a good condition '85 25', and advertised it at $13,900. Sold it in three days for his asking price.

This should tell you how an AS retains it's value.
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Old 03-01-2010, 08:01 AM   #13
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When I was selling my 76 Argosy, I had people litterally fighting to buy it. Scheduling times was hectic at best. I asked a fair amount 7200.00 in my mind and it sold within 2 days. I still get calls on it today. If I would have held out I believe I could have sold it for more. But the person who bought it, was such a nice guy it just felt right. Eventhough I got full asking price. It's what you can get for it. There just arent that many here in Texas I believe.

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Old 03-01-2010, 08:05 AM   #14
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I searched for 8 months and looked at many that owners WANTED to sell. Then I found one that the owners NEEDED to sell. Makes a difference in price.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:28 AM   #15
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It took me. 3 years to find my 1998 Bambi.at the price and condition I could afford.They have a higher resale value.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lahontancut View Post
As I wound down my 6-month trailer search this week, a few observations from an Airstream newbie on the state of the used AS market during this economic reset....
I too ended up buying a new traylah.

One problem endemic to the market which you do not mention is that many private parties try to sell at dealer prices. While dealers are not perfect they do provide a valuable service and are predictable to deal with. Some private parties are flakes.

I made the decision to purchase new after concluding that the 15% higher price than that typically commanded by a two-year old trailer was worth it considering warranty, limited life items like batteries and tires, and wear and tear on everything else. I see an Airstream as having, with proper care and typical vacation use, a 25 year life prior to needing extensive renovation and rebuilding. When you consider that the first few years of ownership should be trouble free or at least have any major repairs covered by warranty I think a 7.5% depreciation for each of the first few years is reasonable.
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Old 03-01-2010, 10:06 AM   #17
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I haven't met a person yet who feels they got a bad deal the day they purchased a trailer or a car. Everybody thinks they got the best deal! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:22 AM   #18
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I think a 7.5% depreciation for each of the first few years is reasonable.
7.5%?
so my '08 30S/O is going for $74k??
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Old 03-01-2010, 02:30 PM   #19
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Private sellers often ask ridiculous prices for their used Airstreams.
I found mine at a dealer for n.a.d.a. retail book and purchased it without haggling.
There is nothing magical about them. They are vehicles and depreciate like any other.
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:19 PM   #20
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If you look at some of the Airstreams offered on Ebay and the prices some go for you would believe that these private party sellers are probably in the ball park...you just have to wait long enough to find one at the price you want to pay. Sometimes that day comes and sometimes it doesn't. Then who is wrong on value and price?
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