Facing high housing costs in many markets, many people are searching for alternatives to high-priced rental apartments. Buying a manufactured home is one option that’s increasingly popular, and buyers are snapping up state-of-the-art manufactured homes all over America.
Buying a manufactured home is now recognized as an excellent affordable housing option due to the opportunity to own your own home and the high quality of today’s manufactured homes. But in the mobile home vs. apartment debate, which comes out on top? The answer will always come down to whichever best matches your needs and your family’s—but let’s examine the value for each side.
COMPARING THE COSTS
Initially, the costs of securing an apartment may be lower, even though an apartment typically requires an application fee and a security deposit (usually one month’s rent), plus other associated costs such as utility deposits. Buying a manufactured home will require a down payment plus closing costs, which can make the initial expenditure seem steep.
When it comes to monthly expenses, however, the median monthly housing payment for buying a three-bedroom, two-bathroom manufactured home is just under $750. The national median monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,216, meaning that buying a manufactured home often provides more space for the money, plus a permanent place to live.
Additionally, in the long run, buying is almost always a better investment than renting. That’s because, as we’ll discuss next, buying property builds equity.
EQUITY (AND WHY IT MATTERS)
Equity is one of the biggest reasons why buying a manufactured home often is a better option than renting an apartment. When a renter pays rent to their landlord every month, the renter builds no equity or wealth.
By contrast, a homebuyer’s mortgage is an investment in a permanent place to live. A well-maintained manufactured home will build equity for its owner. As you pay off your debt, you’ll continue to build equity in your home.
Remember that in order to get the biggest financial advantages of buying a manufactured home, you’ll have to work on improving the property and paying down your debt, much as you would with a standard site-built home. Putting the home on a permanent foundation is an excellent step, as is keeping the home in good repair and investing in key manufactured home improvements such as upgraded insulation.
Apartments frequently offer less space when compared to a double-wide or multi-section manufactured home. The average square footage of an apartment in America is just 882, and with apartment floor plans shrinking in almost every market, Americans are getting less for their money even as rents increase.
Manufactured homes come in a wide variety of sizes. Single-wide homes are excellent for those with less need for space, while double-wide and multi-section homes are great for bigger families and those who simply want some extra elbow room. Double-wide and multi-section homes regularly top 1,500 square feet, allowing you to dream bigger and live more spaciously.
QUALITY OF LIFE
Apartment buildings often lack privacy and peace and quiet. Shared walls, floors and ceilings mean that renters often hear noise from neighbors, and one unit’s plumbing or electrical issue can become a problem for their whole floor or building.
By contrast, a manufactured home gives a homeowner a true space of their own. Buying a manufactured home means freedom to customize, accessorize and otherwise modify your home the way you want it. And it provides benefits that apartments often don’t have, such as access to a yard and a deck.
Many owners of manufactured homes find that living in a manufactured home community offers advantages such as social opportunities and shared amenities. In fact, today’s manufactured home communities offer similar amenities to the ones you’d find in a deluxe apartment building, such as fitness centers, pools, and clubhouses. You’ll also often find planned events like movie showings and holiday parties that bring neighbors together and encourage new friendships.
Manufactured homes are high-quality and affordable housing, and they provide an excellent option for many buyers who want a more comfortable and economical option than apartment living.