Will Mobile/Manufactured Homes Solve the Housing Affordability Crisis?



by Nicole DiCenso
ApartmentList.com
Photo courtesy of Butler Land & Timber Co.

Manufactured homes, more commonly known as mobile homes, are any housing structure that is built in one place, usually a factory, and transported to another. They have become more and more attractive over the years, especially with the recent popularity of “tiny houses,” although not as prevalent as they were in 2000 where their share reached 7.6% of the housing stock.


With this information, Apartment List attempted to answer the question, are mobile homes a solution to the housing affordability crisis? Let’s take a look at the facts:

  • The average monthly housing cost for a mobile home is $564. The average for a site-built home or apartment is almost than twice that at $1,057.
  • Manufactured homes can be built cheaper and faster than traditional homes.
  • Mobile homes dwellers can be both buyers and renters, though they usually are also required to rent the land they have settled on.
  • Mobile home owners face many similar challenges as renters, including high prices for basic amenities and potential rent hikes or evictions. That being said, in the 100 largest metros, mobile home residents spend an average of 40.5 percent less on housing costs than those living in traditional, site-built homes in the same metro.
  • The resale value of a mobile home is low and moving one can be difficult.
  • Social stigma may prevent new mobile home parks from emerging in areas with a shortage of affordable housing

It’s safe to say there are both pros and cons of owning a mobile home over a traditional housing option, but can manufactured houses chip away at the market’s affordability crisis? Currently, the stock of mobile homes is not growing, but changes in design and local policy can unlock the potential for manufactured homes to be a part of the solution.

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