The Future of Mobile Home Communities
Mobile home communities have been around for a very long time. They evolved as homes away from homes and RV trailer homes that were and are still preferred by people who like being on the road and not living anywhere for a long time. However, the mobile homes we have now are less about mobility and travel but much more about affordable housing.
This is how mobile home communities evolved to what they are now. Unlike the situation a few years ago, the stigma around mobile home communities is clearing up. Many people are making a switch to mobile homes as a financial decision rather than being forced to move there as a last resort.
We can’t predict what the future holds for mobile home communities, but it's not hard to speculate a few generalizations.
Luxury mobile homes, retirement mobile home communities, and veteran parks are just a few reflections that more and more tenants are moving into mobile homes as a lifestyle decision.
It allows people the pride of ownership at a fraction of the cost of a site-built home. You may see some new, specialty, and niche mobile home communities popping up in the future.
Another benefit of mobile homes is their eco-friendliness. As the world becomes more aware of the environmental repercussions of humanity’s choices, more people might try to look for alternates to creating new concrete jungles. Mobile home communities offer a readymade solution. Not only are mobile homes significantly more eco-friendly to build, but they are also less resource consuming and a way to live “lightly." Plus, a lot of mobile home communities are well-poised for self-sustainability.
With the right mindset, investors, and tenants, many existing mobile home communities can be overhauled to attract environmentally conscious tenants.
One of the most repeated benefits of investing in mobile home parks is the increasing demand and stagnant/decreasing supply. Very few new “affordable” mobile home parks are being built, and the trend is unlikely to change unless the zoning and local county trends change to become more accommodating towards mobile home parks.
Mobile homes themselves are rapidly evolving, becoming better and better in quality, as well as in aesthetics. Mobile home investors, who lean towards innovation and refining, can buy parks with a large number of park-owned mobile homes (financing would be hard to get through) and revamp the whole thing. A few new homes and improved older homes, environmental-friendly initiatives, and modernized amenities can help investors significantly raise the bar for the appropriate rent. Many tenants may be willing to pay a higher price to live in a significantly better park than their peers.
Even for parks that focus on affordability, a few time-appropriate changes and tight management can improve a mobile home park's attraction.
In either case, the future seems very bright for mobile home investors.
Mobile home communities would, inevitably, mimic the changes and improvements taking place in other housing options.
As security cameras became a norm in single-family homes, mobile home communities picked up on that as well, albeit on a relatively low scale. Similarly, mobile home communities will evolve to reflect the changes taking place in the broader community, like smart living and green initiatives.
Investors who are proactive about these trends may make the most of their investment.
Let me know what you think in the comments, and have a great start to your 2021.
-Virgil Nethercott, CCIM
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