Home Prices Grew, but Mobile Home Prices Grew Faster

Manufactured homes have traditionally offered a more affordable option for home buyers in a housing market that has few such options. And they still do, but in recent years, the prices of manufactured homes — usually called mobile homes — have been rising faster than those of traditionally-built single-family homes, according to a study by LendingTree.

The study examined Census Bureau data from 2017 to 2022 to find where manufactured home prices have changed the most. (A lack of adequate data kept Alaska, Hawaii and Rhode Island out of the study.)

The report found the average price nationally of a mobile home was $71,900 in 2017, but had risen 77 percent to $127,300 by 2022. Single-family homes, on the other hand, averaged $293,727 in 2017 but had risen 47 percent to $430,808 by 2022. By that point, the average mobile home sale price in every state topped $100,000.

Manufactured homes were found to be the most expensive in Idaho, averaging about $168,500 in 2022, up 82 percent from $92,300 in 2017. The cheapest were in Kansas, averaging $100,800 in 2022, up 59 percent since 2017.

Jacob Channel, LendingTree’s senior economist and author of the report, said that because mobile homes occupied a relatively small part of the housing market, it was difficult to pin down the forces that drove prices in different parts of the country. But he pointed to the bureau’s Manufactured Housing Shipment Survey, which shows that in 2022 a majority of the mobile homes shipped to Idaho were larger, more expensive “multisection” models.

The greatest increase in prices occurred in Wyoming, where average prices grew from $54,000 in 2017 to $122,900 in 2022; a 128 percent increase. Prices also at least doubled in Illinois, Kentucky and Mississippi, averaging $120,000 in each.

Mobile homes can pose unusual challenges for home buyers. If they are parked on someone else’s land, there will be rental and hookup fees. With the recent price increases, more buyers may need to finance their purchases, but that can be tricky. Because mobile homes depreciate quickly (much like an automobile), financing them is considered a greater risk by lenders and comes at a higher cost than a traditional home.

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