MAINE, USA — This is a very busy time for real estate agents in Maine. The housing market is at an all-time high, including mobile and manufactured homes.
Experts say there is a range of buyers for mobile homes:
- People who are downsizing
- First time buyers who prefer to start off with a smaller option
- Snowbirds or older people who want to live on a one-floor home
- People who want to live in a pricy area of the state
- And the most popular one...it's an affordable housing option
There are available options to help buyers finance these purchases.
"There are a lot of places that do finance, credit unions can be a really good alternative for financing for mobile homes, even if they are a little bit older, and they may or may not qualify for things like Maine Housing," says Tom Cole, president of the Maine Association of Realtors.
Cole tells NEWS CENTER Maine that if the mobile home is on its own land, most people can qualify for an FHA loan. If it's a newer home, they can get Maine State Housing help.
"A lot of these homes are basically on their own piece of land, so whether a home is in a park, or on land, it is typically a little bit less expensive to buy," Cole said.
Cole says many people may think of Modular homes when thinking of mobile homes, but they are very different. "A mobile home is built to what is called the hud standard for mobile homes to be built by, so that that they are safer and better built," says Cole. Modular homes are built in a factory, mobile homes are built with thinner walls and have a metal frame underneath them. One of the main differences is that Mobile homes are not built to the same standard as a modular home. Modular homes can be built as high as five stories, mobile homes are one-floor homes.
The average sale price for a manufactured or mobile home right now is up about 19 percent compared to last year. That's because of the high demand for these types of houses.
"For people that need to be in an area where the price of traditional homes has really gone high, it's a really good alternative," Cole said.
Gary Jordan is a broker and realtor with Better Homes and Gardens The Masiello Group in Bangor.
"Average sale prices compared to last year are up 19 percent for just manufactured housing, so that's a pretty big number, we are about even on sales," Jordan said.
Jordan says people selling them are getting almost 94 percent of their asking price.
"They are selling just like single-family homes are selling right now, they have all the convenience inside of them so some of that attracts a lot of people," Jordan said.
An affordable option in which to live or work.
"If you are spending tens of thousands to buy a mobile home, versus say in the Brunswick area, roughly 300,000 for the average sale price for a home, it really does make a difference for people," Cole said.
Cole adds mobile homes don't appreciate in the same manner as a regular home or a modular home does. "They do not last quite as long as a regular house," says Cole.
Last year 800 mobile homes were sold in Maine, this year it's a little under 800.
The lowest price mobile home sold in Maine this year was in Caribou for $9,500 and the highest one was in Wells for a little over $200,000.