There are many reasons people consider purchasing a mobile home, and savings is typically one of them. However, calculating the cost of owning a mobile home isn’t as simple as looking up a price tag from a manufacturer. Sophisticated styles, customizations, location popularity, and community amenities—among other things—are all factors that affect the overall investment of owning a mobile home. On the whole, the average price of a mobile home is $75,776.
However, depending on a variety of characteristics and market factors, mobile home prices can range between $55,000-$105,000.
Read on for more on what makes a mobile home, common reasons people opt for mobile over standard site-built home—and the top factors to help you determine how much a mobile home really costs.
Why People Choose Mobile Homes
There are many reasons why people might choose mobile homes over traditional homes or renting. Here are some of the most common factors for deciding on a mobile home:
- They’re Less Expensive: Although pricing of mobile homes varies based on many different factors, they are still generally less expensive than traditional homes. For those who cannot or do not want to take on the significantly higher mortgage of a traditional home, a mobile home might be a better option.
- They Make Home Ownership More Accessible: Some people view renting as “throwing away” money month after month. Investing in a mobile home allows you to put money toward a valuable asset.
- They Generally Need Less Maintenance: Since mobile homes are built under controlled conditions in adherence to federal standards, the quality is highly consistent, which means the homes are less likely to develop surprise maintenance issues down the road.
- They’re Customizable: Mobile homes have gotten quite sophisticated in recent years, and they can be customized by floor plan, style, material, finish, and more.
- They’re Quicker to Build: While a traditional home can take six months or more to build, turnaround time on a new mobile home construction can be as little as a couple of weeks. For those looking for a new home, fast, this is a great option.
- They’re “Mobile”: Mobile homes can be permanent or semi-permanent residences. While it’s generally recommended that mobile homes stay where they are once they’ve been installed, if you really wanted to move somewhere, but not go through the process of selling the home you love, you could technically bring it along with you.
Factors That Affect Mobile Home Cost
If you’ve ever wondered, “How much does a mobile home cost?”—keep in mind there are many different factors that affect a mobile home’s price. When researching homes, pay attention to how type, materials, location, community and additions/upgrades can lead to cost variation.
Type and Size of Mobile Home
Standard sizes for today’s mobile homes include single-wide (single-section) and double-wide (multi-section). Exact dimensions and floor plans of each of these types can vary considerably, depending on the manufacturer, but most options fall within typical ranges.
A single-wide (or single-section) mobile home is generally what people first picture when they think of what typically sits in a mobile home park.
- Single-wide mobile home sizes can range from about 400 square feet to about 1,400 square feet.
- Floor plans typically include one to two bedrooms, and one to two bathrooms.
- The average U.S price of a single-wide mobile home is $57,022.
A double-wide (or multi-section) mobile home combines the dimensions of two or more single section units to create a much larger living space. You might commonly refer to these varieties of mobile homes as double-wide or triple-wide trailers.
- Double-wide mobile home sizes can range from about 1,000 square feet to 2,000 square feet or more.
- Floor plans typically include two to three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
- The average U.S price of a double-wide mobile home is $102,551.
When searching through options for buying mobile homes, home sizing varieties can also include tiny homes, which are typically less than 400 square feet, and large multi-section homes, which are more than 1,800 square feet and contain three or more bedrooms with two or more bathrooms. A new tiny home will typically be more affordable than a single-unit home, and a large multi-section home will most likely be at the high end of the price range.
As with most investments, a new construction purchased directly from the manufacturer will typically be more expensive up-front than a unit of the same size sold by a previous owner.
Materials Used in Construction
Prices for a mobile home also vary based on the materials and finishes used in the build. Higher-quality finishes and high-grade materials will give a mobile home a higher estimation compared to more value-based materials.
For example, customizing your mobile home with stainless steel countertops and appliances will be significantly more expensive than outfitting your space with laminate countertops and white appliances.
Transportation and Installation Costs
While the average prices of different mobile home types typically include the cost of delivery and installation, not all dealers will include these expenses in the base price.
The cost of transporting your mobile home from the manufacturer and installing it will likely vary based on:
- How far it needs to travel
- The cost of following installation standards
- Any potential set-up fees or services
- Moving insurance if applicable
- Skirting the home, either DIY or using a professional
States normally have specific laws surrounding the installation process to ensure safety and consistency, and owners might opt to hire a professional with experience in navigating the regulations.
Location and Timing
The mobile home market is similar to the overall housing market, in that certain areas are generally pricer than others. According to U.S. Census Data, in 2018 the average price of a new manufactured home varied greatly by region, with homes sold in the west being the most expensive, followed by those sold in the northeast, then the south, and, finally, the midwest.
- In 2018, the average mobile home price in the west was about $99,000—nearly $18,000 more than the average price of a mobile home in the midwest. (This data includes mobile homes with more than two sections.)
Just as it’s less expensive to buy a home or rent an apartment in the winter, the average cost of a mobile home tends to be cheaper during the colder months. Sales tend to spike in the spring and summer months: People are generally more likely to be out and about searching for a home when the weather is nice, which makes competition (and prices) higher.
Land and Community Costs
When you purchase a mobile home, you’ve paid for the physical structure and, sometimes, covered the cost of moving and installation, but what isn’t included in this price is the cost of renting or owning the land on which you’ll place it.
After buying your home, you may choose to either purchase land or rent a lot space within a community. According to data from the Manufactured Housing Institute, two-thirds of mobile homes reside on private property, and the remaining third are in mobile home communities, which means that either option is valid.
If you choose to purchase land to place your mobile home, remember that land prices are higher in certain areas of the country than others, by nature, and also vary based on size, terrain, proximity to amenities, scarcity, and zoning, among other variables.
In an estimation prepared by 24/7 Wall St., the top five states with the highest land value per acre are:
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
If you prefer not to purchase land, you may opt to rent it within a mobile home community. In this case, you will still own your home, but, instead of owning the land it lives on, you would lease it from the mobile home community itself.
Similar to purchasing land, rental prices will vary based on region, size, and features. While some no-frills parks rent just the land, other mobile home communities sometimes include a variety of additional amenities that are designed to enhance the homeowners’ experience and create a sense of belonging.
Some features that could affect lot rental price include:
- Community pool and/or clubhouse
- Gardens or community park
- Age-restricted communities (for example, a retirement community)
- Having a pet with you
- Grounds maintenance
- Accessibility to a city center with entertainment or shopping
More exclusive mobile home communities with luxury amenities and offerings will generally command a higher rental price than those with more baseline offerings. You might also be expected to pay Homeowners Association (HOA) fees in addition to your lot rent in some communities.
If you’re renting within a mobile home community, not all rent prices include the cost of utilities—and when you own the land, you’re completely responsible for all utilities. Additional expenses to consider include not just the cost of installation and setup of the following, but also the ongoing costs of their upkeep:
- Water, heat, and gas
- Sewage, garbage pickup, and general maintenance
- Television, electricity, cable, and phone service
Depending on whether you own the land or rent the land, you’ll also need to pay annual property tax or personal tax on your mobile home, and for insurance. You’ll also need to keep in mind any additional expenses that may arise from potential repairs (like fixing a leak), renovations (like changing the kitchen cabinets), and upgrades (like adding a deck) to your home.
What’s the Right Price?
It’s very difficult to attribute one price point to all mobile homes, as there are so many different variables that affect it. When shopping for mobile homes, it’s really important to understand which elements and features result in different price points, and attribute a personal value to each of them.
- Does your family need the space of a multi-wide mobile home, or are you an individual or couple who only needs a tiny home?
- Is your preference to rent within an amenity-rich mobile home community, or would you prefer to purchase land in a secluded area far from a city center?
- Are luxury trims, finishes, and landscaping important to you, or are you happy with baseline options?
All in all, the best value mobile home is one with a combination of features that matter most to its owners. There are home options to suit all sorts of different tastes; finding the mobile home that’s priced right is more about finding the home that’s right for you.