Snowbirds Fueling Park Model Sales in Arizona
Business is booming at Overland Mobile Homes in Mesa, Ariz., largely because of strong snowbird demand for Cavco park model RVs.
“Cavco has so many orders coming in at this moment, I’ve got several people who are waiting to get their units,” said Roxanna Moss, who co-owns Overland Mobile Homes in Mesa, one of Cavco’s largest park model dealers.
According to a press release, demand for the 400-square-foot park models that Cavco produces is so strong that Moss is now promoting a fall order program, which encourages visiting snowbirds to place their orders for park models just before they leave Arizona in April or May.
“This way, their park models can be built during the summer and placed in RV parks and resorts just before they return to Arizona in the fall,” Moss said. “It’s a good program because it helps spread our park model business — and Cavco’s production — throughout the year.”
Park models were originally designed as 8-foot wide trailers that provided sturdier construction than typical towable RVs, which made them appealing to snowbirds. But in 1984 the state of Arizona passed a low that allowed park models to be built on a 12-foot wide frame and to have higher ceilings.
“The wider frame and higher ceilings made them even more appealing for use as winter homes,” Moss said, adding that Overland’s sales rocketed soon after that.
During a seven-month period from late 1989 into 1990, Overland sold 560 park models. “That was a boon for us,” said Moss, who co-owns Overland with her husband, Rick.
While many of Arizona’s RV parks were originally filled up with park models in the 1990s, those older units are increasingly being replaced by a new generation of snowbirds who are increasingly trading in their RVs for park models after they find a park they’d like to use for a winter base.
“We are getting a lot of younger people coming in and many of them don’t want to travel any more with travel trailers and fifth-wheels,” Moss said. “I’d say 70% of our business is replacing existing stock. The units going in now are some of the nicest I’ve ever seen.”