Manufactured homes, commonly referred to as "mobile homes," have come a long way since they became a viable source of housing in the mid-20th century. Manufactured homes built to today's production standards resemble traditional-stick-built homes more than the precursor trailer home. These provide a more efficient, affordable and permanent form of housing since their inception, thus contributing to their overall increase in price. However, the national average price of a manufactured home trailed that of a site-built home by almost $200,000 at the time of publication.
A "mobile home" produced on or after June 15, 1976 is technically a manufactured home. The Department of Housing and Urban Development implemented HUD Code building and safety standards for the construction and installation of manufactured housing as of this date.
Manufactured Home Prices Fluctuate
A 2014 report entitled "Trends and Information About the Manufactured Housing Industry" states that the average price-per-square foot of a manufactured home is 10 percent to 20 percent cheaper than a site-built home's. The report by the Manufactured Home Institute surveyed the average sale prices for manufactured housing between 2009 and 2013. Its survey indicated a slight drop in overall average sale price from 2009 to 2011, and an increase in average price from 2012 to 2013.
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Single-wide manufactured housing followed a similar trend, with the average sale price dropping in 2010 and rising in 2011. Multi-section homes -- double- and triple-wide housing -- experienced different price fluctuations between 2009 and 2013. The average price didn't change from 2009 to 2010 and it dropped in 2011. Prices subsequently rose in 2012 and 2013.
In 2013, the average price for a manufactured home of average size -- 1,470 square feet -- was $64,000, or $43.54 per square foot.
The values mentioned in the MHI report did not include the value of land. Manufactured homes must be affixed to a site to be considered real estate, rather than personal property. An owner may rent a site within a larger piece of land or development, such as a manufactured home park. Or an owner may purchase a plot of land in conjunction with, or subsequent to, a manufactured home purchase.
Land Not Much of A Factor in Figuring Price
A manufactured home that comes with land fetches a higher price than a home without land. However, prices for manufactured homes increase at a slower rate than stick-built homes, which are affixed to land and sold as a package deal.
The relatively larger size of new construction contributes to the difference in price between site-built and manufactured houses. The average size of a newly-constructed site-built home was 2,662 in 2013, according to the MHI. The average total price was $324,500, and $249,429 when the price of the land was not included in the home price. The average price per square foot in 2013 was more than double that of the average manufactured home's price-per-square foot at $93.70.