By: Edythe Kelleher
Rents for mobile home pad sites are affected by different things than are other types of housing. This came to my mind during last week’s Community Conversation: Part 2, when I was speaking with some long-term residents of Audubon Estates and Harmony Place (some have lived there up to 24 years).
One resident made the argument that the EMBARK plan will make land values go up, which will make pad site rents go up. This is indirectly true, as real estate tax increases are usually passed on to tenants.
However, other factors have a much greater effect on pad site rents. The supply of vs. the demand for pad sites is one example. As more mobile homes are manufactured, demand for pad sites will exceed supply if new mobile home parks are not created. The same thing happens if some mobile home parks close; mobile home owners may have few options to relocate their homes.
An even larger factor is the difficulty of moving a “mobile” home. It is an expensive and somewhat destructive (of the home) endeavor, costing thousands of dollars if it can be done at all. More than 80% of mobile homes never move from their original locations. The residents are effectively held hostage; park owners can raise pad rents over and over with little negative effect on occupancy.
John Oliver had an interesting 15-minute segment on mobile home parks in April, you can watch it here and listening to John Oliver is much more entertaining than reading my article!