Economic Insider

Mobile Homes have Increased in Value, but Homeowners Hesitate to Sell

Online platform LendingTree revealed that the value of mobile homes had increased, so much that the rate parries that of single-family homes.

LendingTree gathered data from 2021 and 2016. The company discovered the average value of mobile homes rose by 34.6% yearly. It almost parries with that of single-family homes, which grew 35.4% during the same period. However, experts end their comparisons in the markets’ growth rates.

According to mobile home residents, buying a mobile property gets troubling over time. As soon as mobile homes sustain damage, they could become unattractive and lessens its marketability. This proves especially burdensome for those who purchase mobile homes as an investment. Moreover, entering the current market means facing a more competitive rental and housing market.

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A problem for mobile homeowners

Big corporations have recently started to purchase mobile home parks. As a consequence, rental for the land where mobile homes sit is on the increase. The condition leaves elderly and low-income residents scrambling to meet monthly bill requirements. Yvonne Maldonado, a community organizer, talks about how the non-improvement of the warranty of habitability affects their living as mobile homeowners.

The warranty of habitability refers to the responsibility of landlords to keep all of their housing and rental space livable. However, Maldonado argues that services offered by private companies, like trash and snow removal, do so little to keep home spaces’ livable’ for most.

Holly Hook from Swartz Creek Estates in Michigan tried to sell her home after a company bought the mobile park she’s residing in. However, the home’s selling value fell versus the acquisition value. According to Hook, she acquired the property for $28,000. But the selling price started at $10,000, not even half of the amount she paid when she purchased the home.

“It gets harder and harder to sell, and you actually lose value in a lot of cases. The community used to be really laid back, and people didn’t worry about paying the rent because it was quite steady for years and years. All that relaxation and that feeling of security is just gone,” she said.

Homeowners have legitimate concerns. However, they fear that speaking up would lead to retaliation from the companies that own the property they reside on.

“A lot of people feel powerless,” added Hook.

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A powerless situation

According to the US Census, the average selling price of a brand-new mobile home starts at $124,900. Alyson Snow, a lawyer from the University of San Diego’s School of Law, explained that the hike in mobile home prices is caused by scarcity.

She said that the pandemic presented problems for manufacturers in rolling out the parts needed to create homes. Moreover, the lockdowns led to fewer builders available to assemble and furnish homes.

“Those shortages created fewer mobile homes in the market. You are at the mercy of who’s going to rent you the land,” she added.


Opinions expressed by Economic Insider contributors are their own.