b'chanceforappreciationofthesiteBY JEFF CRIDER value, he added. Not every condo parkis Class A-only. They may have Class Asections, but many allow Class Cs andfifth-wheels. Prices range from the low$100,000s to the sky. Not every condosite is high-priced.Gorin also noted that demand is sostrong for RV sites in Florida that siteowners can always rent out their siteswhen they are not using them duringthe winter months.If you own a site in Florida and de-cide not to use it one winter season soyou can go somewhere else, its prettyeasy to rent that site for three to sixmonths and recover all of your costs ofownership for that year or longer, hesaid.ManytopRVcondositesinFlorida rent from $2,000 to $3,000 permonth over the winter.Whilesomedevelopersdebatewhether its better to build snowbirdparks with RV sites for sale or for rent,onethingeveryoneagreesonistheneed to produce high-quality parks.Indeed, even with record demand forYounger and older snowbirds alike are looking for RVsites,consumersarecontinuallyresorts that offer a variety of amenities and develop- seeking out parks with the best ameni-ers are actively working to meet that demand.ties,withmanyseekingresort-stylequalities.Many RV resort operators, for theirSnowbird Demand Fueling Growth, Southernpart,arerespondingbycontinuallymaking improvements to stay compet-Developers Continue to Build New Resorts itiveandtocatchtheattentionofyounger snowbirds, growing numbersof whom are trying out the snowbirdWith the number of snowbirds in- At least at the volume required in their latest RV resort as a rental park as lifestyle while they continue to work.creasing due to the aging Baby Boomer order to consider a condo park finan- partoftheirnewly Park operators and developers acrosssegment, many developers in southern cially attractive.formedcompany, the Sunbelt tell WCMthat they are see-locales are busy building new parks to My company has been setting the ActiveLifestyleRe- inggrowingnumbersofmenandattract this burgeoning segment of the records in this segment of the industry, sorts. women who are realizing that if theyoutdoor hospitality industry.selling typically 80 to 100 sites per sea- Thethreedevel- have a laptop, a cellphone, an RV and aYears ago, Amir Harpaz dove with son at every location we developed in opersbegancon- decent Wi-Fi connection, theres noth-bothfeetintothe southwest Florida, Harpaz explained. structionin ingtostopthemfromenjoyingthecondo park business, Anything less than that is not a venture November on phase snowbird lifestyle now, rather than wait-buildingluxuryRV that makes financial sense for my com- Bill Harvey oneoftheTorrey ing until they are retired.resortsinFlorida pany. We need volume and while many TrailsRVandGolf Technology is increasing the utilitythatcateredexclu- owners of lots in condo parks put them Resort inWauchula,Fla.,aboutan of an RV, said Harpaz. I think technol-sivelytosnowbirds into a managed rental pool when they hours drive southeast of Tampa. All 368 ogyistheenablerthatsdrivingthewithClassAmo- are not using their lots, the subtle but sites in phase one are expected to be younger snowbirds.torhomes. important differences in amenities and available for rent by next fall, with sub- HeaddedthatmanypeoplehaveAmir Harpaz Hisparks,which park operationssuch as the rules and sequent phases being built according to successful businesses that allow themincludeCypress regulationsthatoftengoverncondo market demand. to be mobile for weeks or months at aWoods RV Resort and Cypress Trail RV parkswill attract a different type of We will offer old Florida charm with time, which sets them up to be potentialResort, both in Fort Myers, each have renter. luxurious amenities typically found in snowbirds.close to 500 sites and have been very Beyond this, he said, while the RV exclusive country clubs, but at afford- Harpaz added that perhaps as manysuccessful. lifestyle continues to grow in attractive- able prices, Harpaz said. as half of todays snowbirds are workingBut while demand for high quality RV ness, he sees consumers increasingly Other developers and consultants, of from their RV, either to run a business orsites across the Sunbelt has never been gravitating toward smaller RVs and not course, have different opinions about to generate additional income.higherfueled by a decade of record wanting to tie up a lot of money in ei- market demand for Maybe well never fully retire any-RV sales and the retirement of the Baby ther a large RV site or a big rig.more condo-style re- more,commentedLyndaPhelps,Boomer generationHarpaz thinks its Harpaz also sees rental park owners sorts,including ownerofUpriverRVResort inFortnow better for developers to invest in RV havinganeasiertimecapturing DavidGorin,who Myers, adding that she has many snow-resorts that rent rather than sell camp- younger snowbirds, including people in hasnotonlybuilt bird couples where one spouse is re-sites. their 50s who are still working and dont successful condo re- tired, while the other continues to work.sorts but also parks AndbecausesoDevelopers debate over whether they should rent or sell sites, which thatrentoutsites, manysnowbirdsoften depends on the type of snowbird they are trying to attract. whileservingasa David Gorin continuetowork,consultant to devel- they have to have de-opers who build all kinds of parks. centWi-Fiservice,He noted that some new rental parks she said, a situationare in opportunity zones and must be thathaspromptedrental parks to qualify for significant hertoupgradehercapital gains treatment tax benefits for Wi-Fisystemin Lynda Phelpsthe developer over a 10-year period. phasesthroughoutIn Florida, if you want the best facil- her park for the current snowbird season.ities, amenities, security and often loca- Developers, meanwhile, continue totion, you want to stay at an ownership build new resorts mostly with sites forIve been in this market for nearly 22 want to wait until they are retired to parkwhether you buy a site or rent, rent.years. I am one of the pioneers, but the enjoy the snowbird lifestyle.he said. Floridasnewestluxurypark,snowbird market is evolving, he told The barrier to entry is also lower for The cost of the campsite, of course, is SunkissedVillageRVResort,wasWoodallsCampgroundManagement a renter, he explained. also a major factor. scheduled to open Dec. 1 with 267 sites,(WCM), adding that there are no longer This awareness of an evolving snow- If you can rent for less over a five- to according to Darla Sinnard, a Regionalenoughnewhigh-endClassAmo- bird market was a factor that persuaded 10-year period than it costs you to own, Manager for Evanston, Ill.-based Jen-torhomes being sold to sustain the kind Harpaztojointwootherlongtime then rent, Gorin advises.ningsRealty,whichalsoownsBayof demand needed for developers to sell Floridadevelopersandfriends,Bill However,keepinmindannual Bayou RV Resortin Tampa.their RV sites in condo-style resorts.Harvey and Alan Wallace, in building rentalincreases,noequityandno Demandisverystrongforhigh18 -January 2020Woodalls Campground Management'