As home prices rise in North Texas, families turn to RVs to save money

As the cost of living rises in North Texas, families all turn to the same choice - RVs

Houses and RVs
(iStock / Photo illustration by Priyanka Modi)

As prices in the North Texas housing market continue to rise, families are opting to downsize significantly – into RVs.

Low inventory is driving demand for homebuyers and rents are up roughly 19% over last year in some areas, according to NBC News 5.

Two families spoke with the publication about the circumstances that led to their decision to live in recreational vehicles, and how the housing market coupled with rising inflation forced them to make tough choices.

“I stay at home, I’m a health coach,” said Lacie Washington, who has been living with her husband, Lorne, in their 1,800-square-foot townhouse for more than a year.

They have a large blended family with six children and two dogs, and while they enjoy their home, the costs of trying to balance family life with inflation pushing up prices for gas, food, and other necessities has been hard.

“I do everything under the sun. Literally everything. I’m a roofer; life insurance agent. I do carpet cleaning; restoration. And then I work at night at Whataburger, too,” said Lorne Washington.

It all became so frustration that they decided to sell everything they own and eventually move out of their townhouse and buy an RV to live in full time.

“Because it’s one more step closer to our goal. We have everything going into savings so that we can pay for the RV down payment,” Lacie said.

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And they’re not the only ones. Lacie’s brother and sister-in-law, Bo Dean and Christina Carter took the leap into full-time RV living in February, according to the outlet. They spent years trying to buy a home and were outbid every time. The manager at the Carters’ RV park said that the demand for housing in Denton County is so strong they’re adding 100 more lots.

“We’ve been put up against multiple people who have money and they’re putting it down and paying way over asking price,’’ Christina said. How do we compete with people like that? Simple. Do a different step. Look at an option for an RV, less than your bills, cut things out of your life that you do not need.”

The Carters spent about $5,000 for the RV and $2,500 on the renovations, mostly completed on their own. They’ve slashed their monthly bills in half.

While there are challenges to living full-time in an RV, like adjusting to the small space and lack of privacy, Christina said it has helped to strengthen her and her husband’s communication and increased the amount of quality time they spend together.

The Washingtons are following in their footsteps by researching RVs large enough for their family. Lacie said the hardest part was selling a custom dining room table large enough for their family of eight, with their name engraved on the side.

“I cried,’’ she said. “But it’s all just things. And that’s also what we’re going to be teaching our kids is things are not that important. It’s the family inside of the home. It’s the freedom that we’re going to gain from that.”

Days after they made their decision, they came home to a letter saying their apartment’s rent is going up, according to Lacie, from $1,488 to $1,679 with a $110 amenity fee.

RV managers across North Texas from Denton, Aubrey, and Mansfield all mentioned they were seeing much higher demand, according to the outlet, with two saying they need to expand to make more spaces available. They say that it’s important to remember that many lots have 3- to 4-month waiting lists and age requirements for RVs for anyone interested in learning more about full-time RV living. The monthly rates average between $550 and $700 each month.

[NBC News 5] — Holden Walter-Warner