Warren Buffet provides one of the best answers as to whether investing in the mobile home community arena is worthwhile. He bought Clayton Homes more than a decade ago, seeing the housing crisis that was fixing to befall the nation. The foreclosure disaster is still affecting the market and causing former homeowners to scramble in search of affordable housing options.
Roots of the Mobile Home Market
The modern mobile home began as a travel trailer used by wealthy people to live comfortably as they roamed the countryside on family vacations. The military grabbed onto the usefulness by stationing these temporary housing units near factories that were producing products for the troops away in combat. They continued use for GI’s that returned and decided to go to college with their earned benefits. By the 1950’s, mobile housing was finding a permanent spot in the American landscape of affordable housing options.
The mobile homes of today are nearly unrecognizable to the predecessors. Most have pitched roofing, high-levels of insulation and stylish interiors. A few offer built-in storage areas, kitchen islands, fireplaces and garden tubs. They can be moved from one park to another, but it is generally cost-prohibitive to do this. Most tenants look for a great park to call home and stay planted there to avoid a $3,000 or more charge to move.
The popularity of mobile home park living has increased for several reasons. The housing bubble and foreclosure waves left many people with no housing and decimated credit scores. Those on annual fixed incomes can rarely afford the rental prices of traditional homes or apartments. Many people enjoy the feel of community and like the idea that they do not have to deal with lawn care and maintenance. The idea that once the mobile home is paid for, all they are responsible for are lot fees and utilities. This is something that is incredibly appealing for growing families. The 2013 census showed that there were 8.6 million mobile homes scattered in a variety of locations across the United States.
Who Lives in Mobile Home Parks?
Mobile home communities come in many varieties. There are more luxurious areas that offer clubhouses, pools and community centers, while there are also bare-bones parks that have been neglected and remain in poor condition. A well-managed park moves out the older trailers and sets rules and regulations to control disruptive activities or behaviors from tenants.
The primary residents of mobile home communities are those that are at or below the national poverty levels. They are generally the ones that are unable to afford down payments for traditional home ownership. The 2016 U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that 14.8 percent of Americans live at or below the poverty level of $24,300 dollars for a family of four. This translates to 46.7 million people. This leaves a lot of potential growth in the market for affordable housing options.
Benefits of Staying in a Mobile Home Park
The reasons people choose to stay in a mobile home park are individual, but most revolve around housing stability, economic factors and a feeling of community. If an individual or family has sought out affordable housing and found a solution, they are reluctant to try reaching forward to more expensive options right away. Having housing that is affordable and leaves a little money at the end of the month becomes a dependable way of life. Long-term tenancy breeds familiarity. People get to know one another and tend to look out for each other. The sense of community is tight in an enclosed park environment.
Growth Potential for the Mobile Home Park Market
With 8.6 million mobile homes in the U.S. as of 2013 and the estimated 46.7 million people at, or under the poverty level, the potential for continued growth is astounding. As baby boomers continue to age, retirement can mean living on a fixed-income, which is often shockingly low. There are plenty of available mobile home parks that are in desperate need of upgrades, whether it’s in plumbing, interior work or trailer upgrades. Creating a pleasant and affordable housing option will always bring back a great return on your investment.
There is no time like the present to get out there and explore your options in mobile home park ownership. Visit parks that are already functioning well. This will give you an idea of the goal mark to reach when purchasing ones that need a little extra TLC.
Dollar-for-dollar, mobile home parks are one of the easiest real estate housing markets to invest in, offering quick and steady returns. This is an option you should fully explore if you like the idea of a more hands-off approach to tenancy and property upkeep.