Manufactured housing—aka mobile homes or trailer homes—and their communities sometimes called trailer parks often are the subject of misconceptions from surrounding neighbors, local governments, and real estate professionals.
People assume the residents are not of means in comparison to those people who buy single family homes. There are stereotypes that they are only for poor people, that they’re bad quality builds, and that bad or illegal things happen in these communities. In our experience, working on thousands of sites across the U.S., that negative perspective is generally not deserved.
Additionally, we hear calls across the country for more affordable housing, yet the different perceptions that people have of manufactured housing unfairly holds back this realistic product type. These misconceptions often surround both preconceived ideas about the communities and the quality of construction of manufactured housing.
In part one we discussed the four different types of manufactured housing, in part two we will debunk the misconceptions that surround them.
Misconceptions surrounding the communities
There are a few different types of communities of people that gravitate toward featuring manufactured housing, all with different reasons for their choices.
In one group, are those who genuinely can only afford to live in manufactured homes because they are considerably less expensive than buying or renting a house, apartment, or condominium. These communities usually include people of all ages. They can either rent or purchase the home and usually pay a monthly rent covering the land, common park amenities, and sometimes it includes utilities.
There are also two other types of manufactured housing communities geared toward seniors 55 years and older. Some are occupied by people as an affordable primary residence and who enjoy being in a community with other retirees. These communities are located all throughout the U.S. and provide an important source of independent living.
The third type of manufactured housing community is geared toward seniors but serves as a second or vacation home and not as their primary residence. These folks seek an active lifestyle in communities often located in warm areas such as Arizona and Florida. They may live in northern cooler climates during the summer and live in warmer communities during the winter (aka “snowbirds”). The latter group chooses to live in manufactured housing for both the community aspect and as an alternative to owning a condo or timeshare.
In many situations manufactured housing communities provide affordable housing while connecting similar lifestyles through clubhouses that host bingo, dances, and parties to specialty gardening, art, sports, and travel groups. We find these people frequently loving and enjoying life in ways that more traditional neighborhoods sometimes struggle to achieve.
Misconceptions surrounding the construction
Additionally, a common misperception exists that the construction of manufactured homes is done cheaply and of bad quality. Older mobile homes usually deserved this connotation. However, in 1976, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created a uniform construction standard with building codes that manufactured housing must satisfy and is evidenced by a certificate sticker applied to each unit when built in the factory. HUD homes also must be built to withstand transportation and setting on site This requires the home to be durable as it could be exposed not only to weather elements, but also must endure various types of road conditions between the factory and final destination. When set in the community they must also be connected to utilities and pass a local code inspection before they can be occupied.
We hope this article better informs you about the truth of manufactured housing communities and homes. The bottom line is that many people are drawn to the lifestyle and the sense of community manufactured housing provides them on top of it being a very affordable option, so we believe they offer an essential source of affordable living for multiple categories of people and should be embraced and encouraged throughout the U.S.
If you have, own, or are thinking about purchasing a manufactured housing community, please give us a call as we have experience in diligencing acquisitions, strategic planning, and managing improvements to communities throughout the U.S. Contact us today or call us at 888.357.7342 to discuss how leveraging our knowledge, expertise, and ambition could drive your next project or portfolio to success.