Manufactured Housing Communities: A Unique & Growing Real Estate Opportunity

Manufactured housing communities, or MHCs, where most manufactured homes are installed, offer residents friendly neighborhoods, common areas, and a range of attractive on-site amenities. Residents of MHCs pay monthly rent for the site and are responsible for maintenance and costs associated with the manufactured home itself.

Owners of MHCs have relatively low operating expenses limited to capital expenses on the site pads, the common areas, and community infrastructure.

There are an estimated 50,000 manufactured housing communities nationwide. Nearly 96% of all MHCs are owned and operated by individuals, resulting in significant opportunity for institutions to implement economies of scale and operation improvements that drive returns for investors.


MHCs Nationwide1


Owned by Individuals

Institutional investment activity in MHCs surged throughout 2021 as investors placed capital in operationally resilient sectors with favorable return profiles.2

Limited Supply with Growing Demand

With rising housing costs, many Americans are looking for alternative housing options, especially Baby Boomers who are wanting to retire and downsize on a fixed income. The increasing demand for affordable housing options and a growing retiree population present a unique opportunity for the manufactured housing sector to grow rents and increase occupancy.

Resident retention is very strong at MHCs – staying on average 14 years. Why? The cost to relocate a manufactured home from one location to another can cost upward of $10,000 depending on size, distance, weight, etc.3

MHCs are

of nation’s total housing4


New MHCs opened in the last 20 years5


All baby boomers expected to be 65+6


Average years residents stay in MHCs7

Notable Sector Performance Across Economic Cycles

Historically, the manufactured housing sector has performed well during both recessions and economic upswings. This is primarily due to the consistent higher returns and relatively low volatility as compared to other leading real estate sectors, such as multifamily, industrial, and retail.

As of December 1, 2021, Green Street Advisors' Commercial Property Return Index reported manufactured housing returns at nearly 397%, since November 2011, surpassing the next leading sector by 37%.

While past performance is not a guarantee of future results, the fundamentals of commercial real estate going into 2020 were strong. However, the length and ultimate magnitude of COVID-19's effects are uncertain and multiple aspects of the economy, including commercial real estate, have been and may be further negatively affected.


An Attainable Housing Solution

Manufactured housing offers one of the largest sources of cost-effective housing in the United States, providing shelter to more than 22 million Americans with a median household income of $30,000 per year.8

For Americans interested in purchasing a home, manufactured housing is one of the most reasonable homeownership options available. In fact, manufactured housing costs nearly 50 percent less than a traditional site-built home – average cost for a manufactured house in 2020 – $87,000; average cost for a site-built home, excluding land costs – $300,000+.9


per square foot
Manufactured Homes Average


per square foot
Traditional Homes Average

Additionally, the average monthly MHC site rents cost a fraction of apartment rents. In 2020, the monthly cost to rent a site in an MHC averaged $568 compared to $1,462 for a single bedroom apartment.

MHC_Rental Chart

Sources: Yardi Matrix National Multifamily Report, Dec 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020; Average monthly lot rent for manufactured housing 2010-2020,

Manufactured housing is a vital part of the housing market and could offer investors capital appreciation and a steady income stream. Enhancements in the quality of manufactured housing, the neighborhood feel offered by MHCs and the increased interest in the sector by institutional players could unlock the potential for utilizing manufacturing housing as a powerful part of an investment strategy.

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1 Commercial Property Executive. Why Manufactured Housing Is the New Affordable Housing. August 2020.




5 NAREIT. Favorable Supply Picture Boosts Manufactured Housing REITs. April 2017.

6 US Census Bureau. Demographics Turning Points for the United States: Population Projections for 2020 to 2060. March 2018.

7 Seeking Alpha. Ground Zero of the Affordable Housing Shortage. October 2019.

8 Manufactured Housing Institute. 2020 Manufactured Housing Facts, Industry Overview. May 2020.

9 U.S. Census Bureau. Cost & Size Comparison New Manufactured Homes and New Single-family Site-Built Homes, 2014-2020.