Of all the lies about mobile homes, the one that upsets me most involves mobile home appreciation.

Many, many people have been advised wrongly that mobile and manufactured homes never gain value or appreciate over time so their not a good investment.
It’s not true and I want to clear up the misconceptions once and for all.

Buying a Mobile Home: Return on Investment

One of the main points of buying a home is to get a decent return on your investment and adding to your asset portfolio.
Homes are usually your largest supplier of net worth and manufactured homes can supply that just as well as a stick-built home.
There are many ‘real estate professionals all over the internet stating that our homes can’t gain value. Entire articles on popular real estate websites state the same misinformation but they are wrong.
I have actual and relevant data stating mobile and manufactured homes can appreciate just as well as any stick-built home!
First, let’s get the legalities out of the way:  I’m not a finance professional nor am I licensed in such matters. I cannot guarantee that your manufactured home will appreciate, nor can I guarantee a stick-built home can.
There are too many variables in play. I simply want to make sure you have the correct information available to you and that the biggest myth regarding manufactured homes is put to rest.

The Method of Calculating a Manufactured Homes Value

First and foremost, the book value of a mobile home has very little to do with the actual market value. Those are 2 different statistics and are calculated in different ways. Data Comp describes book value as calculating ‘the average depreciated the retail value of a manufactured or mobile home.”

They also go on to explain,  “The NADA Value Guide was a fairly accurate market value guide in 1975. Unfortunately, in today’s market, it can no longer be relied upon to accurately determine the local market value of a manufactured home.

A market-based appraisal is the same method of determining the value of a manufactured home as they use with stick build homes and is the only accurate way to gauge the total worth of the home. Data Comp is one of the largest appraisal companies in the nation and has estimated and appraised over 200,000 manufactured homes. The company’s data is sound and that’s where we will be getting our data for this article.

The following is how Data Comp calculates a market-based comparable appraisal:

  1. Includes a thorough inspection of the home
  2. Researches recent, similar sales transactions in the local area
  3. Analyzes those sales in comparison to the home being appraised
  4. Produces an independent, expert, and unbiased opinion of value

If you want the true market value of a mobile home, a market-based appraisal is the only way to get it. You can’t just go to a website or a book and look up the make and model of the home and get an accurate estimation.

There are a lot of variables in play when it comes to any home’s value. Location, maintenance, and age are only the basics. Marketing trends are a huge part of the equation as well as current mortgage rates and even foreclosure rates (we’ll dig into the myths about manufactured housing having higher foreclosure rates at another time, just know that data proves that manufactured housing loans have a lower foreclosure rate than stick-built homes do, therefore the higher interest rates are uncalled for and shouldn’t be allowed).
So how can anyone within the real estate industry state that manufactured homes never gain value? They can’t and if they do you should stop communicating with them immediately. It’s that simple. Either they didn’t research properly, they haven’t taken the time to understand the market or they simply want to keep you from buying a manufactured home.
Manufactured homes are not perfect but they are a lot better than most give them credit for. They deserve to be looked at from a non-judgmental point of view and with factual data that’s specific to manufactured homes.
buying a mobile home

Buying a Mobile Home: The Proof that Manufactured Homes Can Appreciate

Data comp Appraisal Systems looked at 185 manufactured homes in the state of Michigan. They compared the average sale price to the average resale price several years later.
  • 97 of those homes increased in value by an average of $2,985
  • The remaining 88 decreased in value by an average of $2,822. 
So, more homes raised in value by over two thousand dollars than did not!

Variables that Affect Appreciation

Based on an analysis of 88,000 actual sales, Data comp found that there are specific reasons why some homes appreciate while others depreciate. The home’s location can affect the value by over 24%. In other words, manufactured homes that are sited on their own property are more likely to increase in value than those in a park. Still, with the surge in retirement, there’s a good chance that demand for mobile home communities for the 55+ age group will help keep the home prices at a consistent level which, in turn, can increase the value of the homes.
The variables include:
  • The housing market, in which the home is located, will have a significant impact on the future value of the home.
  • The community, in which the home is located, has a similarly significant impact on the home’s future value.
  • The initial price paid for the home.
  • The age of the home.
  • The inflation rate.
  • The availability and cost of community sites, which reflects the supply and demand influence on the home’s value.
  • The extent of an organized resale network, where an organized network will usually result in homes selling for a higher price than in markets without such an organized network.
When properly sited and maintained, manufactured homes will appreciate at the same rate as other homes in surrounding neighborhoods. 
Don’t forget that there’s no guarantee for stick-built homes to appreciate either!
I was reading in a forum the other day and out of 40 replies to a question, a lady asked about her mobile homes appreciation only 3 knew that the potential was there at all. The others flat out told her no, they couldn’t and wouldn’t gain value, period.

The myth that our homes don’t gain value is simply not accurate. Yes, some manufactured homes can lose value over time but these statistics show that more gained value than lost. Stick-built homes can lose value too and the economic turmoils we have had in the past few years are proof of that.

Thanks so much for reading Mobile Home Living!