Real Estate News

Mobile homes are cheap, but increasingly rare, in Sacramento region

The Capital Estates manufactured housing community in South Sacramento.
The Capital Estates manufactured housing community in South Sacramento.

It’s increasingly rare to see a mobile home while driving through the Sacramento region.

About 2.8 percent of the housing units in the Sacramento region are mobile homes, down from 4.6 percent in 1990, according to the latest census figures. The total number of mobile homes fell by around 3,000 between 1990 and 2016, even as the amount of other types of housing increased dramatically.

Mobile homes are built at a factory and towed to their resting place. They are distinct from modular homes, which are built in pieces and put together on site, and from RVs, which are generally not stationary dwellings.

Mobile homes are most often found in rural areas, and the Sacramento region has urbanized significantly over the last few decades. The housing boom also played a role in the decline as developers built a glut of permanent homes and economically disadvantaged residents who might otherwise live in mobile homes were temporarily able to get subprime loans for permanent housing.

Nationwide, mobile home dwellers broadly have seen rent increases as real estate investors buy mobile home parks. For owners, mobile homes have a reputation as a bad investment due to rapid depreciation of value.

The inventory of mobile homes is declining statewide. Mobile homes made up a lower proportion of housing units in nearly every California county in 2016 than they did in 1990, census figures show.

Mobile homes remain most prevalent in rural Northern California. But even places like Lassen, Del Norte and Lake counties, where mobile homes are common, have seen a sharp decline.

Phillip Reese is The Bee's data specialist and teaches at Sacramento State. Reach him at 916-321-1137 or 916-278-5420

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