Are manufactured homes cheaper than other housing?

Taxes and More

The fact that many manufactured homes are nice places to live has not erased the "trailer park" stereotype. That's why many local government officials and some residents balk at having manufactured homes in their communities.

In Absecon, N.J., residents protested a planned manufactured home park, believing it would lower property values. Although the cheapest home in the park would sell for $125,000, one resident berated the park as "low-income" housing. Others feared the park would become a haven for criminals [source: Rose].

Why the negative attitudes? Many local communities are afraid that a preponderance of manufactured homes will negatively affect tax revenue. They fear the taxes on manufactured homes will not offset the cost of community services, especially schools. However, studies show that manufactured homes do not impact the local school system -- where the bulk of a community's tax money goes. According to one study, 59 percent of manufactured households have no children [source:].

Part of the problem is that in many states, such as Florida, communities tax manufactured homes and mobile homes as personal property, similar to motor vehicles. However, if a person owns the land on which their home is located, and the structure is permanently affixed to the property, then the town can place that home on its real property tax rolls [source: Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles].

In communities where manufactured homes are real property, the community taxes the homeowner at the same tax rate as the owner of a site-built home. Communities also tax investor-owned mobile home parks for the land on which the home sits, as well as the house itself [source:].

Many residents fear their property values will go down if manufactured homes are built in their neighborhood. However, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University say that's not the case. The researchers studied the impact of manufactured housing in one New Hampshire town. The scientists found no evidence that manufactured homes had any impact on the property values of adjacent site-built homes [source:].

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  • Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles. "Before You Buy A Mobile Home." (March, 2011).
  • Kirchhoff, Sue. "Manufactured homes -and owners - gain respect." USAToday. Aug. 7, 2005. (March, 2011).
  • "Impact of Manufactured Housing on Local Community Services." (March, 2011).
  • "Today's Manufactured Housing." (March, 2011).
  • Rose, Elaine. "Don't think mobile homes, think affordable homes." Press of Atlantic City. Feb. 6, 2011).
  • Ward, Sally K.; French, Charlie; Giraud, Kelly. "Resident Ownership in New Hampshire's Mobile Home Parks: A Report on Economic Outcomes." September, 2006. (March, 2011).