The Cost of Manufactured Homes
The Real Costs of Manufactured Homes
Manufactured homes are often more affordable than traditional single-family properties—even those of comparable size and location.
This is due largely to the efficiency of the construction process. Manufactured homes are built off-site in a factory setting, allowing for a fast, efficient and low-cost assembly-line approach. Factory-built homes also aren’t at the whim of local weather conditions, so they can be manufactured quickly and in higher volume than traditional home builds can.
Finally, high-volume production allows manufacturers to purchase supplies and building materials in bulk, resulting in a lower end-cost to the consumer.
What Influences the Cost of Manufactured Homes?
So, just how affordable are manufactured homes? Well, that depends on a number of factors.
Size, of course, is one of the biggest influencers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a 1,446-square foot manufactured home cost $70,600 in 2016. A smaller manufactured home (around 1,000 square feet) was $46,700, while a larger, double-wide property (about 1,700 square feet) was $89,500. The chosen manufacturer of the home also factors into the total cost.
Other factors that influence the cost of manufactured homes include:
With manufactured homes, you have two choices: you can purchase a plot of land to place your house on, or you can lease land in a mobile home park or other similar community. The price of both options varies greatly by location. In Blount County, Alabama, for example, a plot of land can cost as low as $17,900. In Marin County, California, land prices reach upwards of $3 million. Generally, more rural areas have more affordable land prices that more urban and suburban ones.
If you own your land, you may opt to lay a permanent foundation under your home. This can help ensure it’s long-term viability and safety. Manufactured home foundations vary and can even include basements and crawl spaces, so their costs are equally wide-ranging. Slab foundations tend to be the most expensive.
Once your home is placed on its site, you’ll need to configure it for utilities like water, sewage, electricity, cable and internet service. The costs of these vary by location and the specific utility provider you’re using. In general, Hawaii, Alaska, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York residents pay the most for utility hook-ups. Those in Idaho, Utah, Montana, Washington, and Nevada pay the least.
In some cases, your mobile home community may offer utilities as part of your monthly rent price.
Delivery & Set-up
Manufacturers will often include delivery if you’re located within a certain radius of their facility. Outside that, you’ll likely need to pay a fee based on the distance and number of miles from the manufacturer. There also may be other delivery expenses if you require an escort vehicle or multiple trucks.
Your home will also need to be set up and assembled once it arrives. This might also come with a fee, depending on your chosen manufacturer.
Taxes on manufactured homes vary by state. In California and Oregon, for example, you’ll pay state and local taxes near the same rate as built-on-site properties—usually between 0.72% and 0.98%. Arizona, Washington, and New Mexico also treat manufactured homes as property, as long as they are on a permanent foundation.
In other states, like Florida, you’ll pay a licensing tax — similar to what you’d pay when purchasing a vehicle.
Customizations to the Home
Many manufacturers allow for customization of their home designs. These include interior features like fireplaces, built-in desks and shelving, appliances and more, while exterior customizations often include different siding options, decorative doors, and roof updates. These all come with an added cost that depends on the level of customization and your unique manufacturer.
Finally, as with any home purchase, you’ll want an insurance policy to protect your investment. Manufactured and mobile home insurance can cover things like weather damage, replacement costs, theft, and other items. Make sure you also consider travel coverage for when your home is being transported to its final location.
Financing Your Manufactured Home
Though manufactured homes may come at a lower cost than traditionally built properties, that doesn’t mean you have to pay for it any differently. Manufactured and mobile home loans can help you finance your purchase and pay it back over time. These loans are often available from manufactured home retailers or specialized mobile home lenders. As with a traditional mortgage, you can also refinance these loans at a later date.
U.S. Census Bureau. "Cost & Size Comparisons: New Manufactured Homes and New and New Single-Family Site-Built Homes (2007 - 2016)," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
Federal Housing Finance Agency. "Working Paper 19-01: The Price of Residential Land for Counties, ZIP codes, and Census Tracts in the United States," Download "Working Paper 19-01." Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
Clayton Home Building Group. "The Journey Home: Building on Strong Manufactured Home Foundations," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
Homes Direct. "Manufactured Home Delivery Process in 2018," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
Clayton Building Group. "Property Taxes and Manufactured Homes," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
Homes Direct. "Everything You Need to Know about Arizona Manufactured Housing Codes, Regulations, and Requirements," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
Washington State Department of Revenue. "Property Tax Assessment of Mobile and Manufactured Homes," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division. "Chapter 17, Section A: Manufactured Homes - General Information," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
Florida Department of Revenue. "Taxation of Mobile Homes in Florida," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.
U.S. Mobile Home Pros. "Cost To Build A Manufactured Home & What To Expect For Quality," Accessed Sept. 30, 2019.