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Mobile Home Dwellers Face Tripled Land Rent as Surging Housing Market and Inflation Rage On

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As home prices keep rising in 2022, a large percentage of the American public continue choosing different housing options. Mortgage rates are already high and expected to increase, which should raise demand and spur more people to move to rental homes, apartments and one of the most affordable housing choices — mobile homes.

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The Washington Post reported inflation, as well as home and rental prices, are heavily impacting costs at mobile home parks, a housing sector already rife with high demand, low inventory and increasing interest by corporate investors.  

With today’s market leaning too heavily in favor of sellers for prices to drop anytime soon, times are hard for people already compromised financially and living in mobile or manufactured houses because they have no other choice.

The New York Times reported that about 22 million Americans reside in manufactured homes, according to national trade organization Manufactured Housing Institute. Per Fannie Mae, manufactured housing accounts for 6.3% of the nation’s housing units.

Already overpriced out of house and apartment rentals, many mobile homeowners have seen their monthly lot fees increase by at least 10-25% in 2022, according to those asked by The Washington Post. Others say that their rents have doubled or even tripled.

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Those thinking about buying a manufactured or mobile home might have second thoughts, too. In the U.S., census stats show that average sales price for manufactured homes increased by 50% — from $82,900 to $123,200 — during the pandemic. The Post stated significantly less of a hike (22%) in new home prices in that period, as federal data indicated.

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However, while all home sales and rental prices are tracked by a number of governing industry bodies, there seems to be less trust in what dictates appropriate land or lot rent charges and how much a private landowner can demand from mobile or manufactured homeowners. Few municipalities and states have rules governing rent increases or evictions at mobile home parks, leaving lot renters with little recourse against mobile housing corporations.

Despite the feeling of stability and sense of accomplishment that come with owning a manufactured or mobile home, many cannot afford the land rent to enjoy it. Manufactured-housing operators are buying up parks all across the country and upping rents dramatically along the way.

According to the market research firm Real Capital Analytics, as of June 2021, institutional investors account for 23% of the manufactured housing purchases over the past two year, up from 13% the two years previous.

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According to The Post, there is also a concerning and growing trend by corporate owners to buy mobile home parks, then dismantle them in favor of building money-making investments like condo towers, resorts and wedding venues. This, in turn, leaves many with a mobile or manufactured home, but no land to put it on.

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