Manufactured Homes for Affordable Housing?

Home inventory of has fallen near record lows across the country, but more consumers are in need of a place to live. Some economists say manufactured homes—also known as mobile homes or trailers—may be the answer to relieve housing shortages in some markets needing more affordable housing.

In the nation’s 100 largest metros, residents living in manufactured homes—either renting or owning—spend an average of 40 percent less on housing than those living in more traditional “stick-built” homes. The average monthly gross housing cost for a mobile home is $564, compared with $1,057 for a traditionally built home or apartment, according to the report by Apartment List. (The gross housing cost includes rent or mortgage payments and property taxes, lot rent for mobile homes, and utility costs.)

Seniors on fixed incomes may find the option more appealing. Upscale mobile home parks are popping up that are aimed at attracting the 55-plus crowd, offering spacious “double-wide” manufactured homes , community centers, and pools, among other amenities.