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Tight Inventory Boosts Manufactured Home Searches 50%

A dream of a “home of our own” has pushed more potential buyers frustrated by a low inventory of for-sale properties to consider manufactured housing.

NEW YORK – Is a mobile home boom brewing? Twenty-three U.S. states saw online searches for mobile homes increase 50% or more year to year (from May to September 2020 and 2019) compared to the same period a year ago, according to a new analysis of Google Trends data from Point2Homes.

In Florida, the increase in manufactured-home searches (49%) was close to the U.S. average.

In some states, online mobile home searches increased more than 80%, including in Connecticut, New Mexico, Virginia and Texas, the study shows.

The popularity of mobile homes – also referred to as manufactured homes – is increasing in the pandemic as home shoppers search for affordability and their own space.

Affordability is a key draw of manufactured housing. Some buyers may be looking for a way to still own a home but at a lower cost.

The typical monthly housing payment for a manufactured home is $505, which includes the loan payment, lot rental, utilities, insurance and property taxes. For renters, it’s $670, which includes rent and utilities.

For comparison, the typical monthly house payment for a single-family homeowner is more than double that at $1,168, according to research from the Urban Institute.

“Mobile home interest and demand is not a new trend or is it solely pandemic-fueled,” says Karen Condor, a real estate professional and home insurance expert with USInsuranceAgents.com. “It has been growing for at least a few years now, and will continue to do so, for several reasons tied to the population boom and the scarcity of resources.” Condor says that aging baby boomers are transforming mobile parks into retirement communities.

In addition to affordability, mobile homes have other advantages over site-build property. They take less time to build and have seen major upgrades over the years in security features, energy efficiency and designs, Candor says.

Point2Homes’ data found that the greatest percent change from May to September year-over-year in mobile home searches for sale occurred in the following areas:

  • Connecticut: 85%
  • New Mexico: 83%
  • Texas: 83%
  • Virginia: 83%
  • Delaware: 60%
  • Nebraska: 60%
  • Utah: 53%
  • Nevada: 52%
  • Vermont: 51%

Source: “Mobile Home Boom: 23 U.S. States See Searches Increase 50% and Over,” Point2Homes.com (Dec. 7, 2020)

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