Why the World’s RV Capital is Also a Lucrative Real Estate Market

Elkhart-Goshen was identified as one of the most up-and-coming towns for real estate investors.

Round-ups of small towns poised to “explode” into the next big real estate investment opportunity often miss something crucial. The prices may be low, but unless one already lives there or knows what they’re getting into, they require a serious change of lifestyle for someone who has never strayed from an urban or suburban setting.

But one recent round-up, the annual Wall Street Journal/Realtor.com Emerging Housing Markets Index, identified a place that has always had travel in its DNA.

Elkhart-Goshen, a pair of twin cities in Elkhart County, Ind., that are a three-hour drive from Indianapolis and two hours from Chicago, may have just over 206,000 residents but manufacture approximately 80% of the world’s recreational vehicles.

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“A number of manufacturers of RVs and RV components call Elkhart home, including Jayco and Keystone, along with musical instrument producer Conn-Selmer and many other fabrication firms,” reads the report. “These manufacturing employers, along with regional healthcare and local service providers, contribute to Elkhart-Goshen boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates among the metros studied for this index: just 1.6%.

Would You Move To The RV Capital?

With a median listing price of just $279,450, Elkhart-Goshen was identified as the most rapidly emerging real estate market in the country — prices rose by 49.4% in the second quarter of 2022 and 17.2% since 2021. While the average house sells within 32.3 days in the country, homes sold within 19 in Elkhart-Goshen in June.

The number of new listings to hit the sites also rose by 12.3% year over year.

As demand for RVs soared since the start of the pandemic and has not exactly let up since, many people are moving to this area for jobs and driving up housing prices —  although, unless one actually owns an RV, Elkhart County may be too big of a change for a city-slicker who is just looking for a way to gain some passive income.

Another town to make the top three was North Carolina’s Burlington. A suburb of Durham and Raleigh, it has a median listing price of $380,150 and jumped from 12th to second place from last year’s report.

As a suburb of larger cities with strong job markets, Burlington can be a good choice for local investors who see the population growth taking place in the nearby areas and plan to rent it out or otherwise see it grow.

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Prices In Some Towns Far Away Are Exploding

Other cities where one can get a house for around $300,000 and see its price skyrocket by as much as 25% are Johnson City, Tenn., and Fort Wayne, Ind. The least expensive city in the Top 10 was Kansas’ Topeka, where a median home lists for $225,000.

In general, these towns can be great investments for people who are somewhere in the area and may be interested in flipping homes or renting — but for out-of-town investors, buying somewhere where rents are soaring can come with either a lifestyle change or the extra expenses that come with managing properties from far away.

“While many of these markets have flown under the national radar, the secret about their affordable qualities has gotten out, though,” reads the report. “The average year-over-year growth rate for the median listing price among these 12 markets is 21.6%, compared to 16.2% nationwide, a sign that buyers are active.”


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