Update December 18: A previous version of this article contained opinions from real estate agents and financial experts who talked about this new trend. The Experts’ Insights section was removed because we received complaints that it contained biased views.
Whether it’s due to their affordability or the freedom of movement and simplified lifestyle they entail, interest in mobile homes is spiking in all but one of the 50 U.S. states. Aside from South Dakota, where searches for mobile homes have remained at the same level as last year, interest in this type of housing is up across the board.
With an increase in searches of 49% at the national level and jumps in Google searches at the state level varying between 22% and 85% year-over-year, it appears that mobile homes — also known as manufactured homes — are increasingly meeting the needs and requirements of homebuyers. And given the financial toll the pandemic is taking, these needs could be affordability-related more than anything. According to an analysis by the Urban Institute:
[…] the cost of living in manufactured housing is well below the cost of living in other housing types. The monthly housing payment in manufactured homes is $505 for owners (which includes loan payments, lot rental payments, utilities, insurance and property taxes) and $670 for renters (which includes rent and utilities), versus $1,168 for single-family owner-occupants and $1,079 for single-family renters.
Building and housing costs represent a significant part of the appeal of manufactured homes, but other benefits include design flexibility, energy efficiency and construction speed. And although mobile homes have a few drawbacks, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages for those who wish to fulfil their homeownership dreams.
In 4 States, Searches for Mobile Homes Increased More Than 80%
Connecticut, New Mexico, Virginia and Texas lead the way when it comes to the most significant increases in interest for manufactured homes. Here, searches for this type of housing exploded compared to last year. Moreover, in 19 other states, searches are up between 50% and 60%.
In Connecticut, house-hunters in the Hartford-New Haven metro are the most curious about manufactured homes and their advantages and disadvantages. Across the country, Albuquerque-Santa Fe is the New Mexico metro where potential homebuyers are increasingly looking into buying or investing in mobile homes, while in Texas, it’s the Odessa-Midland metro area house-hunters who are interested in this type of housing.
Data for the analysis was sourced from Google Trends Data. Analysts compared the number of searches for mobile homes for sale between May and September 2019 with searches between May and September 2020. They also looked at figures from 2016 onward to establish the upward evolution of the trend.
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