Saturday, May 3, 2014

Mobile Home Impediments and Opportunities

A few days after the recent post on American and Mexican housing, the New York Times Magazine ran a lengthy article, which I was alerted to thanks to Brandon Donnelly's blog, profiling America's mobile home industry. Brandon considers the ethical issues raised by the apparently considerable profits to be made in this area of real estate, such that there are now entire courses offered by successful investors in making one's fortune, or at least living, owning and operating mobile home communities.

The article serves as a nice jumping off point from the earlier post, as it deals with what is, in much of the United States, nearly the only type of single-family detached housing that is allowed to be both very small and built on very small lots. Much of the affordability of this housing type, it seems, is attributable not only to the efficiencies of mass production or the frequent separation of the cost of land from the cost of ownership, but the common exemption of areas zoned for mobile homes (setting aside for now the curiosity of why there should even be such zones) from the standard restrictions of single family zoning, including minimum lot sizes, front and side setbacks, parking requirements and even minimum street widths.

Consider, for instance, the zoning code of Bradenton, Florida, which like many Florida cities has a large number of so-called mobile home communities (though in the majority of cases, these homes are never moved after being sited):

City of Bradenton.
In the above chart, admirably simple for an American zoning code, R-1 is single-family, R-2 is two-family, R-3 multifamily, and R-4 "Mobile Home" (UV is a special "urban village" district that covers very little of the city). Note that in the mobile home district, minimum lot sizes are less than half that required in the single-family district, even though both only permit single-family homes! The comparative minimum dwelling sizes are a strikingly divergent 1,500 sq. ft. and 400 sq. ft. The mobile home zone is allowed to be built so densely, in fact, that its maximum permitted units/acre is equivalent to the multifamily zone. Not shown here are the parking tables, which require only one space for mobile homes, yet two for single-family homes, regardless of square footage.

The resulting streetscapes in the mobile home zones are completely different from almost anything else in American suburbia, featuring extremely narrow streets without on-street parking, very modest setbacks and tiny lots either with pocket backyards or none at all (from Bradenton):



Some are so tightly packed that streets can barely accommodate a single car (again from Bradenton):


The separate standards for site-built and mobile homes probably arise from the fact that the latter homes were initially presumed to be transient, and that the sites designated to host them were therefore viewed more as parking lots than as a formal arrangement of streets and building lots. As one study puts it, many of the complex issues surrounding mobile homes "arise, in part, from the mobile home's historical classification as a travel trailer, the vestiges of which persist even though mobile homes have become a more permanent housing solution." Although city planners, such as those in Bradenton, appear to be gradually imposing more conventional siting requirements on mobile homes, this statutory inertia continues to manifest itself in more permissive square footage and lot sizing requirements as well as the separate zoning designation itself.

The existence of dueling single family zones with such disparate requirements produces some striking visual contrasts, as below, where R-4 adjoins R-1:


The relaxed requirements for mobile home zones may help explain their proliferation in Florida, particularly in permissively-zoned unincorporated areas of surrounding counties such as Manatee. The looser regulations serve as a major subsidy on top of manufactured homes' significantly cheaper construction costs. A resultant surge in construction of such neighborhoods in Florida, where trailers have probably always been subject to less zoning ostracism due to the need to accommodate RV-driving and trailer-bearing seasonal visitors, appears to have normalized the type.

It may seem strange to discuss how mobile homes occupy a privileged position in many zoning codes, given that literature on mobile home areas tends to focus on the regulatory impediments to their construction. However, these impediments tend to take the form of limited areas actually zoned for mobile homes, rather than the restrictions within these zones. The money to be made in operating mobile home communities appears to be a form of regulatory arbitrage that takes advantage of the much smaller lots, home sizes and generally cheaper infrastructure permitted within mobile homes zones as compared to those for single-family zones. This permissiveness has not escaped notice of the tiny house proponents, who have sought to use existing RV park designations to accommodate tiny house communities.

Although Bradenton actually bans site-built homes within its mobile home district, a few cities are gradually coming around toward embracing by-right smaller lots for site-built homes in existing suburban neighborhoods. Portland's (Oregon) infill regulations permit lots as little as 2500 square feet in some instances, though not without predictable hysterical reactions. Had such small lots been permitted as of right in a city like Bradenton for site-built homes, it seems plausible that trailer homes would be less common. When small lots are combined with attractive homes on narrow streets, the result doesn't have to be so terrifying after all.

Key West, Florida.

28 comments:

  1. Great article ...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.I bookmarked this blog further more information.
    Calgary New Home Builders.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It would be nice for me to find someone that can help my sister find a new home. They don't like living in a home where there are multiple couples. There is just way too much drama there. http://www.sunflower-management.com/

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've been thinking about buying a mobile home for vacations every so often. I mean, paying for the mobile home really wouldn't be that difficult, and in the long run it would make vacations much cheaper. I just don't know if they would let me do something like this. What do you guys think?

    http://www.deltahomecenter.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is really a excellent honestly i don't have any strategies for my real estate and it is very helpful. Beverly Hills Real Estate Broker single family homes for rent in Los Angeles

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi, i can write articles to your blog, if you are interested, please let me know.
    Boerne Texas Real Estate

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks your blog is awesome.
    thanks for sharing information.
    Videocon 2.75g Internet plan
    Videocon Telecom invests approx Rs 130 Cr to upgrade its network to 2.75G EDGE, a 3G standard technology, to enhance Customer experience on data speed. Rolls out a full-fledged marketing campaign to get Customer attention.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The moral of this obviously is that it's not always as it seems, and am on the verge myself of traveling across the country in a trailer home!
    Trailer rental Brisbane

    ReplyDelete
  8. Nguyên nhân và dấu hiệu viêm âm đạoTuy nhiên, không phải ai cũng biết và hiểu về bệnh lý này. Viêm âm đạo tuy không nguy hiểm tới mức ảnh hưởng trực tiếp đến tính mạng người bệnh nhưng nếu không được điều trị nó lại là nguyên nhân dẫn đến hiếm muộn và các bệnh lý liên quan khác
    Hải sâm là gì - nấu món gì ngon ?Hải sâm là gì? có lẻ đây là câu hỏi cũng không ít người đang tò mò muốn biết, là một thực phẩm được xem là hảo hạng, mang đến nhiều giá trị dinh dưỡng vô cùng quan trọng cho con người
    Hải sâm có tác dụng gì?Hải sâm là một loại thực phẩm biển tuyệt hảo, món ăn bổ dưỡng và khoái khẩu của nhiều thực khách tại các nước như Malaysia, Trung Quốc, Nhật Bản, Indonesia
    Ăn ngải cứu có tác dụng gì?Sau đây bài viết ăn ngải cứu có tác dụng gì sẽ giúp các bạn hiểu rõ hơn về tác dụng cũng như mặt hại của loại cây này nhé, cùng theo dõi bài viết sau đây nào!
    Công dụng của ngải cứu đối với bà bầuTuy nhiên các chuyên gia dinh dưỡng nhận định rằng không phải vì thế mà phủ nhận vai trò của ngải cứu khi mang thai. Việc ăn ngải cứu như thế nào để tốt nhất cho thai nhi và thể trạng của người mẹ.
    Hiếm muộn là gì?Chính vì vậy, nếu họ không áp dụng bất cứ biện pháp tránh thai nào thì có khoảng 90% sẽ có con sau 1 năm chúng sống.
    Bị dị ứng da mặt phải làm sao?Khi xã hội ngày một phát triển, nhu cầu làm đẹp của chị em phụ nữ chúng mình ngày càng được quan tâm đúng không nào các bạn
    Bị dị ứng da mặt nổi mụn nên làm gì?Để giúp các bạn gái điều trị tình trạng này, hôm nay chúng tôi xin chia sẻ đến các bạn một số kinh nghiệm trị mụn do dị ứng dưới đây, các bạn có thể tham khảo nhé!
    Da bị dị ứng mỹ phẩm phải làm sao?Tất cả các loại mỹ phẩm như: sữa rửa mặt, dung dịch tẩy trang, nước hoa hồng, kem chống nắng, chống nhăn, kem dưỡng ngày, dưỡng đêm, son môi, phấn má
    Bị dị ứng ngứa khắp người nên làm gì?Những người có cơ địa dị ứng rất nhạy cảm với những tác động của thời tiết đặc biệt là thời khắc chuyển mùa khi nhiệt độ thay đổi đột ngột dễ gây ra bị dị ứng, nổi mề đay, mụn, ngứa, da sần sùi…
    Bị dị ứng ngứa toàn thân nên làm gì?Nguyên nhân có thể do người bệnh ăn phải các thực phẩm dễ gây dị ứng, do thay đổi thời tiết hoặc cũng có thể là dấu hiệu của một số bệnh ngoài da, dị ứng, bệnh nội tạng

    ReplyDelete
  9. Homeowners insurance for a mobile home in Massachusetts is slightly different than that for a traditional home.
    For more visit mobile homes Massachusetts

    ReplyDelete

  10. buy a home
    Property Solutions



    OG Property Solutions is here in Bakersfield to help homeowners out of any kind of distressed situation. As investors, we are in business to make a modest profit on any deal; however we can help homeowners out of just about any situation, no matter what! There are no fees, up-front costs, commissions, or anything else. Just the simple honest truth about your home and how we can help you sell it fast to resolve any situation.

    You may hear from others, the news, or even real estate agents, that investors are all out to screw over the home owner, but this simply isn’t true. OG Property Solutions is part of a nationwide group of thousands of investors who are helping tens of thousands of homeowners every year. We may not be the “traditional” route, but the reason many bad mouth investors is because we CAN help and we can do it quickly, which they don’t want YOU to know about!

    I am Randy of OG Property Solutions. I live with my wife, daughter and two grandsons. I was in management for 9 years in Bakersfield and I am now happy to be in real estate investments, something I wanted to do years ago. I now have a team put together to help create a solution to help you resolve any situation.

    Give us a call today at 661-615-3314 to let us know what YOU need help with!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nice Website...
    Hey JOIN now fblikesbot.com and Increase Facebook Likes your profile and websites.
    Increase Facebook Likes and check your website worth worth my websites
    FB Likes and check your website worth Website Value Calculator
    Hot Wallpapers seo tools website
    its may be very beneficial for you also really

    ReplyDelete
  12. Brilliant blog post, really informative.

    ReplyDelete
  13. You have done good job on your blog so carry on work more please view Galaxy S7 Edge

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your Post is very nice and you can do more work on your blog too. Galaxy Note 5

    ReplyDelete
  15. Your blog look nice and good in quality so make more back links for it.
    Qmobile Price and Specification

    ReplyDelete
  16. Your blog look nice and good in quality so make more back links for it.Qmobile Price and Specification

    ReplyDelete
  17. Are you working serious on your website then carry on worry and use our list alsoFree Blog Post Sites

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your website look good in post where you get this idea nice to look.mobiphones

    ReplyDelete
  19. You must carry on your work and i choose it for my point of view sharing on it.
    How To Make Money Online

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lower earning human beings haven't any wish of getting a detached residing apart from a mobile home park.
    A mobile home can provide them with privacy, a backyard, a sense of community.
    you're in reality supporting people when you offer a first-rate mobile home park environment.
    If you want to recognise greater, you can visit:- mobile home park Massachusetts

    ReplyDelete
  21. House proprietors scope for a fabricated house in Massachusetts is somewhat particular than that for a customary home. For extra go to:-mobile homes Massachusetts

    ReplyDelete

  22. To do this it's suggested that the mobile homeowner take their time when securing insurance for their home. Optimally they should start researching prospective mobile home insurance companies before they are due to take possession of the actual unit.please click to visit : mobile homes Massachusetts

    ReplyDelete
  23. I specialize in senior real estate and have done research on many of the Active Adult Communities in our vicinity. After reviewing all information. active adult community Massachusetts

    ReplyDelete
  24. Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. loft conversions twickenham

    ReplyDelete
  25. really Impressing plan looking too good.thanks to display here.

    ReplyDelete

  26. Sell land fast
    i want to sell my land
    Selling your land

    Sell Your California Land. Is your land a burden? Is it time to sell? We make selling your land a quick and easy process, and it costs you nothing out of pocket. For more information then Visit: www.purelandbuyers.com

    ReplyDelete