b'Camping Interest is Driving Scorching-Hot Real Estate Market for Buyers and Sellers nBY JEFF CRIDER ket.Thisnewcompetition,com- More investment groups are get- No one can ignore this and other Record demand for RVs is dra- bined with scarcity of desirable in- tingintoprivateparksbecausedata. And although CAP rates (cap-matically intensifying both the buy- ventory as acquisition targets, hastherearemoreandmorereadilyitalizationrates,netincomedi-ingandsellingofcampgroundsresulted in higher valuations. Andavailable data to drive ever growingvided by the cost of the property) and RV parks across North Amer- yet, outdoor hospitality assets con- investmentsincampgrounds,RVhave become compressed in recent ica, creating unprecedented busi- tinue to provide extremely attrac- parks and resorts. Advance reserva- years,parksstillproducehigher ness levels for real estate brokerstivereturnsforinvestors,andItionsforparksaffiliatedwithyield on investment than alterna-who specialize in the private parkdont see the appetite diminishingKampgroundsofAmerica(KOA)tive asset classes like self-storage, business.any time soon. This includes notandYogiBearsJellystoneParkmobile home parks and multi-fam-Ive never seen anything like it,only competition to acquire exist- Camp-Resorts are at record levelsily(housing).Manynewbuyers said Randy Hendrickson, of West- ingparks,butfor 2022, for example, with manycomefromthoseotherinvest-lakeVillage,Calif.-basedUnitedalsothedevel- other independent parks across thements. Put it all together and its ParkBrokers,opmentofen- country reporting similar demand.not hard to see why this market is noting that bothtirely new ones.Meanwhile, existing park opera- very, very lucrative and competi-buyers and sell- Itsreallytors and investors are scrambling totive. ersofRVparksbusy, said Rus- add more RV sites and other ameni- But for all the intensifying excite-recognize theressellBaehre,ofties to their parks to capitalize onment over the money to be made in moneytobeBaehre Real Es- therisingmarketdemand.the private park business, many ex-madeinanin- tate in Kerrville,WoodallsCampgroundMagazineisting park owners are not in a po-dustrythathasTexas,whohashas recently documented the con- sition to command the best price provenitselftospecializedinstruction of at least 54 new camp- for their parks, for a variety of rea-beprofitablebrokeringpri- Russell Baehre groundsandRVparksandthesons.Thisisparticularlytrueof even,moreso,vateparksalesaddition of at least 15,500 new RVparksthathave Randy Hendrickson duringapan- for over three-and-a-half decades. sitesacrossthecountrybetweenbeen owned and demic.When we first got into the busi- 2021 and early 2023.operated by the As we know, the pandemic, forness, he said, I would say at leastHendricksoncitedKOAs2020same family for all the terrible effects it has pro- 80% of the business was mom andNorth American Camping Report,manyyears, duced, has been the catalyst for in- pops.Nowitsmoreinvestmentwhich indicates that 76% of first- brokers say. creaseddemandfortheoutdoorgroups. It went from 80% mom andtimecampersearn$50,000toWe find that, hospitalityexperience,hesaid.pops to 80% some sort of invest- $100,000 per year. unfortunately, Withthat,existinginvestorsal- ment group. I think the prices (forOfthosesamefirst-timepeopledont ready familiar with this asset classcampgrounds and RV parks) havecampers,acombined83%wereplanenoughin have been joined by an ever-grow- gottentothepointwhereitsGenX, Millennials and Gen Z, andadvance to sell, ing number of new investors andknockedmostofyourmomandthey are part of the over 10 millionever,said investor groups entering the mar- pops out of the market.new first-time campers, he said.James Cook James Cook, na-28 April 2022 Woodalls Campground Magazine'