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The ongoing popularity of camper vans ensures owners are happy campers this summer.

As summer arrives, owners of camper vans are sitting pretty after insight from automotive experts cap hpi reveals that the vehicles are experiencing very little depreciation, making them much sought after for motorists who love life on the open road.

Experts at cap hpi believe the strong values are boosted by the increase in ‘staycations’ rather than overseas holidays coupled with the ongoing appeal of retro and vintage living. Last year, many families chose to stay thanks mainly to a record summer and economic uncertainty. This summer expects to see similar levels of families opting to stay on home soil for holiday season.

One increasingly popular trend in the camper van and motorhomes sector is for conversions. Ken Brown, LCV valuations editor, observes: “In the medium van LCV sector we often see vehicles that are ideal for conversion into camper vans and VW T5s, in particular, make strong money if they are in a good colour with air conditioning.”

The camper van converter market has taken off in the past few years with more and more of these specialist businesses now popping up across the country. These vehicles are sourced initially from the used LCV market at 3 -5 years old and purchased at competitive prices. They then go through a full makeover, often incorporating brand new front swivel seats, pop top added (for children to sleep), kitchens units with sink and gas stove, rock and roll bed, new front grill and headlights plus full paint job and new wheels.

It transforms what was a standard workhorse into a fun, very cool and hugely desirable camping machine. Prices do vary for these, but they can be found for £20k+ which is a just snip of the cost when compared to a factory-built VW California. The most desirable model style Transporter for these converters is the long wheelbase with a tailgate and low roof (to fit in standard car parks), but there are increasingly more of the fully converted VW Crafter models appearing on the roads.

Jeremy Yea, senior valuations editor at cap hpi, added: “The ‘day van’ or ‘lifestyle’ VW Transporter is very popular right now and most tend to be the ex-commercial use or LCV workhorses but with clean previous usage. These are not generally converted into full campers as such (no pop roof) but do still tend just to have a bench seat or rock and roll bed in the back with a couple of kitchen units and gas stove, perfect for those day trips or weekends at the beach.

“For those looking for a vehicle to sleep children, a far cheaper option to the pop roof is a side awning or tent. These can often be converted at home by the owner who is a handy and confident DIYer and at a fraction of the cost than if bought pre-converted.”

VWs Californias remain very popular with very low depreciation across all models holding around 75% of original cost new at three years 30k miles and greater than 90% at one year 10k.Although highly desirable, the initial outlay is steep, with a price range of £50k – £70k retail. However, they do represent a sure investment if in the right spec, colour and with low mileage. Later T5 and T6 models carry just as much appeal as the original 60’s and 70’s split or bay window classics but offer more space, better fuel economy, a far better drive, and most importantly, reliability.

Jeremy Yea adds: “Away from the VW scene, there are more and more campers appearing on our roads which tend to be other brands like the Mercedes Vito, Vauxhall Vivaro or Ford Transit. These do not necessarily carry the same level of desirability or coolness for all, but if you still wanted a day van or camper and were not worried about having a VW badge, then these are perfectly suitable, far cheaper options.”

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