Glen Mitchell's Real Estate Blog


Do mobile and manufactured homes appreciate in value???

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Do mobile homes and manufactured homes increase in value or decrease???  This is a question often asked when talking about manufactured homes.  In fact, on a recent web post I saw the following as a realtor's answer to a potential buyers question about value....

"No, do not buy a mobile/manufactured home! Rent instead. Mobile homes don't appreciate and they are difficult to sell. Check Craig's list, there are quite a few for sale and no buyers. Don't throw your money away."

He must know what he's talking about.  He's licensed right?  Why don't we help out and provide some actual data and see what the results are...  the Realtor happens to be in the Santa Clara County area, so we will start there.  I was able to get Sold averages since 1998 from the multiple listing service.  We need to compare against other types of property to get a good idea if the numbers are good or bad, so let’s find out the appreciation or depreciation of single family homes, condos, and mobile/manufactured homes,(in community park settings, both owner and non owner owned parks) from 1998 to the second half of 2008.

Here's the results for Santa Clara County.... Drum roll please....

Single family homes appreciated 128%

Condos appreciated 126%

Mobile/Manufactured homes appreciated 83%


So each form of housing appreciated a fairly decent amount although manufactured homes trailed in 3rd place.  Maybe this is just a fluke??  Lets look at the counties to the north and south and compare.

San Mateo County to the north....

Single family homes appreciated 152%

Condos appreciated 117%

And mobile/manufactured homes 143% 

Single Family homes win again, but not by much.  Sorry condo owners you take third place this time.


Maybe our agent above was referring to Santa Cruz county, so same time period we have...

Single family homes appreciate 152%

Condos appreciated 92%

And Mobile/manufactured homes 144%

Pretty similar to San Mateo County numbers, and unfortunately condos come in third again.  Granted this is the California Bay Area we are talking about, but it appears all forms of housing increased a large percentage over the time period we have data for.  It also appears that returns on mobile/manufactured homes in two counties were even higher than returns on condos and within 9% of the returns on single family homes in two counties.  Is our data flawed?  What would happen if we took out mobile homes built prior to the HUD code?  We will save that for a future post, but I'm guessing our manufactured home returns may go up even higher.  Is someone trying to sabotage the manufactured home industry?  Did we not have a big enough sample?  In Santa Clara we are talking about 6082 mobile/manufactured home sales.  If we average that out over 10 years and then divide by 4 to get an even quarterly number we come up with 152 sales a quarter are needed to keep this pace.  So we have to have at least that may homes listed.  152 Craigslists ads which might represent a lot from our realtor quote above.  It sounds like a lot.  As a side note and scary thought right before Halloween, the approx return in the Dow Jones Industrial average over the same time period ending today was 1.5%.  Yikes, I bet more investors wish they had parked their money in mobile and manufactured homes.

Speaking of money, and being a former equity options floor trader, at first glance it looks like there are some good spread opportunities here.  IE sell Santa Clara Condos and buy Santa Clara homes or maybe sell San Mateo manufactured homes and buy Santa Clara manufactured homes.  Ok, so we are probably getting carried away here and need to do some more research, but I would really consider the Santa Clara one if I owned a condo there.

I hope you liked this data and if you have data from other parts of the United States I hope you take the time to post so we can compare.  Sign up for new posts to the manufactured and modular home group.  I'm sure there are lots of info and ideas for us all to learn from. 

Thanks, Glen Mitchell

Info on average prices for blog taken from mlslistings is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.

About the Author: The above info was provided by Glen Mitchell, licensed Real Estate Broker in California (#01345619) and Hawaii(#18416). Glen can be reached via email at or by phone at 650-260-4536.



Have a home to sell in the California Bay Area? I'd be happy to share my marketing expertise and experience with you!

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I service the following Counties: San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Maui.  Partial list of cities include Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Montara, Moss Beach, Hillsborough, Burlingame, Atherton, Palo Alto, Woodside, Pescadero, Pacifica, Daly City, Los Altos, Soquel, Aptos, Capitola, Scotts valley, Kihei, Wailea and more.

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Comment balloon 8 commentsGlen A. Mitchell • October 24 2008 07:28PM
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