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Mobile Home Values Are Rising Nearly As Fast As Single-Family Home Values — Here’s Where They’re the Least, Most Expensive

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Home prices are starting to come down in some parts of the U.S., but that doesn’t change that buying a single-family house remains steep. Because of this, some would-be buyers may consider cheaper alternatives to traditional single-family homes, like less expensive condos or townhouses, while others may think about mobile homes.

But are mobile homes that much more affordable than single-family houses, and do they appreciate in value in the same way? To answer these questions and determine where mobile homes are the least and most expensive, LendingTree analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey to compare the median value of mobile homes and single-family homes in each of the nation’s states, except for Hawaii (see the methodology for why Hawaii was excluded).

We found that mobile homes are generally far less expensive than their single-family counterparts. We also found that mobile home values nationwide appreciated in value almost as quickly as single-family homes over the five years from 2016 to 2021.

Key findings

  • The median value of a mobile home nationally is $61,400, $220,000 less than the median value of a single-family home. Though mobile homes remain considerably less expensive than single-family homes, median mobile home values across the nation increased by an average of 34.58% from 2016 to 2021 — nearly the same as the average increase of 35.44% for single-family homes.
  • Mobile homes cost the least in Kansas, Ohio and Iowa. In these states, the median value of a mobile home is $29,000 or less. To put that into perspective, the median value of a single-family home in each of these states is at least $174,000.
  • Mobile homes cost the most in Washington, Nevada, Oregon and California. The median values for mobile homes in these four states are $146,500, $114,000, $113,500 and $110,200, respectively. These are the only states where median mobile home values exceed $100,000.
  • The difference in price between mobile and single-family homes is the largest in California, Colorado and Massachusetts. In these three states, median-priced mobile homes cost $537,900, $404,000 and $390,300 less, respectively, than median-priced single-family homes. On the other end of the spectrum, the differences in median prices in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Mississippi are all less than $105,000.
  • The median value of mobile homes rose most significantly over the five years between 2016 and 2021 in Rhode Island, Nebraska and Idaho. In these states, median mobile home values have more than doubled, increasing by an average of 110.82% from 2016 to 2021. For comparison, median single-family home values across these states only appreciated by an average of 57.95% over the same period.
  • Median mobile home values increased the least in Vermont, Alaska, North Dakota and New Jersey. Respective increases of 2.28%, 4.13%, 7.33% and 9.11% make these the only states where median mobile home values increased by less than 10%.

States where mobile homes are the least expensive

No. 1: Kansas

  • Median value of a mobile home: $28,300
  • Median value of a single-family home: $183,800
  • Difference in median values of a mobile and single-family home: $155,500
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a single-family home: 11.42%
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a mobile home: 26.85%

No. 2: Ohio

  • Median value of a mobile home: $28,500
  • Median value of a single-family home: $180,200
  • Difference in median values of a mobile and single-family home: $151,700
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a single-family home: 25.55% 
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a mobile home: 28.62%

No. 3: Iowa

  • Median value of a mobile home: $29,000
  • Median value of a single-family home: $174,400
  • Difference in median values of a mobile and single-family home: $145,400
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a single-family home: 15.08%
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a mobile home: 22.56%

 

States where mobile homes are the most expensive

No. 1: Washington

  • Median value of a mobile home: $146,500
  • Median value of a single-family home: $485,700
  • Difference in median values of a mobile and single-family home: $339,200
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a single-family home: 67.05%
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a mobile home: 58.52%

No. 2: Nevada

  • Median value of a mobile home: $114,000
  • Median value of a single-family home: $373,000
  • Difference in median values of a mobile and single-family home: $259,000
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a single-family home: 69.14%
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a mobile home: 55.74%

No. 3: Oregon

  • Median value of a mobile home: $113,500
  • Median value of a single-family home: $422,700
  • Difference in median values of a mobile and single-family home: $309,200
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a single-family home: 58.30%
  • 5-year median value appreciation of a mobile home: 47.23%

 

What are the drawbacks of buying a mobile home?

Though the relatively low cost of a mobile home can make one appealing, buying and owning such a property isn’t without drawbacks.

For example, while the value of mobile homes appreciates over time, some owners may find that reselling can be difficult. Further, securing a loan for a mobile home can be challenging since many lenders view it as a riskier investment than a loan for another type of house. It can be especially tricky and costly for borrowers with poor credit scores or those trying to buy a mobile home on land they don’t own.

These drawbacks — in addition to other downsides like needing to pay trailer park or land access fees — may be enough to discourage some buyers from considering a mobile home, even if they find the price appealing.

That said, a mobile home could be a good investment depending on who’s buying the property and their needs. As long as a buyer understands what they’re doing, a mobile home could provide a good blend of affordability, convenience, safety and shelter.

Tips for finding affordable housing

There are plenty of ways to make finding an affordable home — mobile or not — easier. Here are three tips:

  • Shop around for a mortgage lender before determining what kind of home you can afford. Though mortgage rates have risen dramatically since the start of the year — and are still rising — you can potentially get a lower rate by shopping around for a mortgage lender before buying. This is because different lenders can offer different rates to the exact same borrowers. By getting a lower rate on a mortgage, you may find that a single-family home is more affordable than you expected.
  • Think about renting instead of buying. While there are some exceptions, renting a home is usually much less expensive than buying one. If you’re looking for a home but don’t have the cash, renting can still be a great option.
  • Separate fact from fiction. A would-be mobile homebuyer might worry that living in a trailer park is unsafe or that the value of their house won’t appreciate over time and, as a result, pursue more expensive housing. Many of these preconceptions are often untrue. In fact, mobile-home communities are often relatively safe compared to other neighborhoods, and the value of a mobile home can increase over time. By learning more about alternative housing options — like mobile homes — you might find that they’re more appealing and a better fit for you.

Methodology

Data in this study comes from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey with one-year estimates — the latest study available — as well as the 2016 American Community Survey with one-year estimates.

Hawaii was excluded from our study due to insufficient data on mobile homes within the state. While mobile homes exist in Hawaii, mobile-home parks were forbidden by strict zoning laws until recently. As a result, there’s insufficient data to meaningfully estimate the median value of a mobile home in Hawaii, especially over five years.

Per the U.S. Census Bureau, a mobile home is defined as “a movable dwelling, 8 feet or more wide and 40 feet or more long, designed to be towed on its own chassis, with transportation gear integral to the unit when it leaves the factory, and without need of a permanent foundation. These homes are built in accordance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) building code.”

 

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