Manufactured Homes Might Be The Answer To U.S. Housing Crisis

In the first half of last year, more than 50,000 manufactured homes were shipped across the country — a 31% year-over-year increase, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The average sale price was $124,900, and while that number represents a two-year increase of nearly $40,000, manufactured homes remain an affordable option for an inventory-depleted U.S. housing market.

While 22 million Americans live in manufactured homes, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute, there remains a stigma nationally, as many people revert to memories of ill-kept mobile home parks. Mobile homes, legally defined as such because they are moveable, are also built in a factory — with wheels included before 1976. While most conventional homes in the U.S. are built on site from the ground up, manufactured homes are built in factories and assembled at a location determined by the owner — not in a mobile home park.
Some also see manufactured homes as the answer to the national housing crisis.

“Quality improvements in construction and installation practices have increased durability so that the life expectancy of factory-built housing is increasingly comparable with that of site-built housing,” Urban Institute researcher Karen Kaul wrote last year.
From an investment perspective, the higher mortgage interest rates and U.S. inflation will still play a role. But for those looking for longer-term investments, those willing to ride the economic roller coaster may get back in, Northmarq Vice President Don Vedeen told Multi-Housing News. Northmarq is a capital markets resource for commercial real estate investors.

“Investors need to plan for the long term,” Vedeen said. “I envision the market to continue to cool down in the first and the second quarter, but I think at some point, a domino will fall, and investors will begin buying again and compressing cap rates despite the interest rates.”
On the whole, the manufactured housing industry, with an increase in solid and stable manufactured home communities in the past decade, has seen a rise in institutional investors and owner-operators.

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