Mobile Home Values Soar but Owners Hold Back

According to online lending platform LendingTree data, mobile homes now have values comparable to single-family residences.

LendingTree acquired data between 2021 and 2016. The business found an average annual increase in mobile home values was 34.6%. It almost matches the growth of single-family dwellings, which increased by 35.4% in the same time frame. Expert comparisons, however, come to a stop with market growth rates.

Residents of mobile homes claim that purchasing a movable property becomes problematic over time. Mobile homes lose their appeal and diminish marketability when they sustain damage. This is particularly difficult for those who buy mobile homes as investments. Therefore, a more competitive rental and housing market await those who enter the present market.

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Mobile homeowners’ problem

Recently, large firms have been buying mobile home parks. As a result, owners increase the cost of the property where mobile homes are located. Residents who are old or have limited incomes struggle to pay their bills on time because of the condition. Community activist Yvonne Maldonado discusses how the warranty of habitability’s lack of development affected their living as mobile homeowners.

The warranty of habitability refers to the landlord’s obligation to maintain all of their housing and rental space livable. Maldonado contends that private sector services, such as snow and trash disposal, do little to maintain most people’s homes “livable.”

Holly Hook, who lives in a mobile home park in Swartz Creek Estates in Michigan, sought to sell her house when a business acquired the lot she was living in. Nevertheless, the house’s selling price was lower than its purchase price. Hook claims she paid $28,000 for the property. However, the asking price started at $10,000, far from the original price she paid for it.

“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 are just gone,” she said.

Homeowners have valid concerns. They worry, though, that if they speak out, the businesses that control the land they live on will act in response.

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

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In a powerless state

According to the US Census, the average selling price of a new mobile home starts at $124,900. Alyson Snow, a lawyer at the University of San Diego School of Law, cited scarcity as the reason behind the rise in mobile home pricing.

According to her, the pandemic made it difficult for manufacturers to distribute the components needed to build dwellings. Additionally, fewer builders were available to construct and furnish dwellings because of the lockdowns.

“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.