Although home sales — like home prices — have been skyrocketing in recent months, interest in another type of housing is also up in almost all of the Canadian provinces: searches for mobile homes for sale have increased 49% in 2020 compared to last year.
Also known as manufactured homes, the appeal of mobile homes derives mostly from their lower production and living costs, as well as the freedom of movement that they promise. Built in factories and assembled on-site, these homes are seen as a more affordable and more easily accessible type of housing.
Other advantages include design flexibility, energy efficiency and construction speed. And although mobile homes have a few disadvantages, those who want to avoid spending any more time in a crammed apartment are definitely considering this housing option.
Searches for Mobile Homes More Than Double in 2 Provinces
At a national level, searches for mobile homes increased 49% between May and September 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Meanwhile, zooming in to the province level, jumps in searches vary between a more subdued 21% in British Columbia and 23% in Manitoba to 108% in Nova Scotia and even133% in Prince Edward Island.
Whether it’s due to buyers’ pandemic-induced financial worries or to people’s newfound openness to a different lifestyle, interest in mobile and manufactured homes reached new highs this summer. So, is this new trend here to stay? And what other factors could be behind homebuyers’ decision to take a closer look at this housing option?
To find out, we talked with real estate agents and financial and housing experts about this trend and their advice to those who are interested in buying or investing in mobile homes.
Tal Shelef, Realtor, Condo Wizard
I believe that the trend is here to stay. Mobile homes are an affordable alternative to traditional homes, yet still retain that charming, homey feel. In this age where style is a priority, these types of homes are rising in popularity because of their simple and minimalistic qualities. These days, mobile homes have many different plans and layouts to choose from, ranging from small homes perfect for a single person to large roomy homes with tons of space. They cater to all kinds of consumers, which is why I am firm in my belief that this trend will not be going anywhere anytime soon, but instead continue to soar in demand.
Jared Chamberlain, REALTOR®, broker/owner, Chamberlain Real Estate Group
In looking at the data in Calgary, Alberta, we haven’t seen an increase in these types of sales. What we have seen happening is more people making a move to larger spaces because they are home more and now are finding the time and energy to make the change.
A mobile home is only a decent investment if you own the land. If you don’t own the land you essentially own a depreciating asset, which, over time, will always decrease. Land is limited and that is where the value in any real estate purchase lies.
Look to focus on owning the land. If there is a mobile home on that plot of land or in a mobile park and you own the land, this is a better investment than renting a space where the mobile home is located.
Josh MacDonald, chief marketing officer, MacDonald Turkey Point Marina
Although it would be in my best financial interest to say mobile homes are a good investment, it is a risky move given [that] the rules for trailer parks are up in the air with the second wave approaching. Premier Ford closed trailer parks during the first wave of the pandemic and we had to fight to get our park open so that snowbirds returning from Florida could visit their primary residence in our trailer park rather than living out of a hotel.