Manufactured Housing Rebounds

As the housing crisis continues to deepen, the sector regained momentum in the third quarter, a NorthMarq report says.
Image by Downtowngal via Wikimedia Commons

The manufactured housing sector has closed a strong third quarter, according to the most recent NorthMarq report. After bouncing back from a difficult, pandemic-impacted second quarter, the industry is registering some of its strongest numbers in terms of occupancy, rent, sales and supply. While unemployment rates have picked up, the need for affordable housing keeps investors interested in manufactured homes.  

The national occupancy rate was 93.3 percent in the third quarter, up 10 basis points compared to the previous quarter. Despite the solid 50-basis-point increase year-over-year, the occupancy rate is still slightly below the cycle peak of 2019.


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In the Midwestern states, the occupancy rate gained 100 basis points year-over-year to 87 percent, with Michigan and Indiana posting the most significant occupancy gains, according to the NorthMarq report. Despite a 30-basis-point drop over the second quarter, the Pacific states maintained the highest occupancy rate in the country at 98.3 percent. 

Average national rents experienced an increase of 1.3 percent, reaching $563 per month in the third quarter. On a year-over-year basis, manufactured housing rents saw a 3.7 percent increase, maintaining a steady annual growth since 2010. The Western states saw the strongest annual increase quarter-over-quarter, with average rents reaching $629 per month at a 4.8 percent year-over-year increase.       

High demand

Investor confidence in the sector’s resilience translated into a 75 percent increase in sales activity from the previous quarter, with the number of assets sold reaching almost the same level as at the beginning of the year. Cap rates experienced a decrease from 7.8 to 7.3 quarter-over-quarter. According to the report, sales velocity through the first three quarters of 2020 is nearly identical to levels recorded over the same interval in 2019.

Transaction activity remained highest in Florida, with total sales accounting for roughly 15 percent of  the total national sales. The median price thus far in 2020 is $50,500 per space, the report said, with cap rates averaging 6 percent.

California continued to boast the highest prices for manufactured homes. The median price through the first three quarters of 2020 is $78,500, up 17 percent year-over-year.

On the other side of the spectrum, manufactured housing prices remained lowest in Michigan, where the median price is approximately $15,000 per space, with cap rates averaging 9 percent.

National shipments picked up in the third quarter, totaling some 23,500 units. Meanwhile, year-to-date numbers reached 69,500 units, slightly below the volume recorded for the same nine-month period in  2019. Texas tops the list, with roughly 4,000 units shipped in the third quarter. The state saw some 12,500 units shipped over the first nine months of the year, up 7 percent compared to the same period of 2019.   

Read the full report by NorthMarq.