With your retirement years fast approaching, you’ve already started wondering where you should buy a mobile home for retirement or whether luxury mobile home parks exist. After all, retiring in senior-focused communities sounds like a peaceful life.
Several factors come into play when choosing where to retire. However, if you’re like most people, you’ll probably prioritize your budget—which is why manufactured homes are popular among retirees.
Sadly, there’s also a negative stigma revolving around these communities. The unconfirmed rumors and misunderstandings about mobile parks cause seniors to doubt their decisions.
If you find yourself on the fence about manufactured homes, don’t worry.
We researched the most reputable, widely known senior-focused manufactured home communities available to help you reach an unbiased, fact-based decision. This review compares options based on the cost of living, accessibility, and overall quality of life.
We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of manufactured homes. That way, you can objectively assess whether manufactured home communities will help you achieve your ideal retirement plans.
Read until the end. Otherwise, you might end up living in a housing option that you’ll eventually regret.
Let’s get started!
What Are Manufactured Homes?
You might have come across the terms manufactured, modular, and mobile homes while researching retirement housing options. Although they’re often used interchangeably, they don’t mean the same things.
Unlike stick-built homes, manufactured homes are constructed in factories. They need very minimal work and installation upon arriving at their respective sites.
Generally, you can’t tell a well-built, properly constructed manufactured home apart from a site-built one after installation.
Yes, they were transported after construction. However, once you’ve set up the structure, you can’t quickly move it to different places anymore. So, you need to settle on a location.
Modular homes and manufactured homes are both constructed in factories before being transported to their respective sites. You also can’t quickly distinguish them from stick-built homes.
However, they follow different construction guidelines. Manufactured homes abide by the federal construction codes of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), while modular homes follow local state building codes.
The HUD calls manufactured homes built before June 15, 1976, mobile homes. Residents typically position them in shared locations with accessible amenities—trailer parks.
They became obsolete following the HUD’s policy changes in 1976, and the HUD eventually replaced them with manufactured homes. You can no longer live in a mobile home.
Note: Many still use the terms mobile and manufactured home interchangeably, but don’t get confused. The former housing option no longer exists. All manufactured homes built after 1976 comply with the HUD policy changes, hence the government doesn’t categorize them as “mobile homes” anymore.
Retiring in Senior Manufactured Home Communities
Adults 55 and older retire in mobile home parks to save money. Private pensions and annuities in the U.S. average at $10,700, so it’s not unusual for retirees to focus on cost-efficiency.
Fortunately, manufactured homes serve as an affordable, practical housing option for downsizing. Per square foot, they only cost around $55, while a stick-built home would set you back by over $114 per square foot.
Although a manufactured home seems like an appealing, affordable housing option, don’t move into one until you carefully assess its impact on you and your family’s lifestyle.
Yes, they cost a fraction of detached homes. However, they’re not the most suitable choice if you need long-term property investments.
Don’t let the low construction costs cloud your judgment. To aid you with your home buying decision, we made a quick roundup of the advantages and disadvantages of moving into manufactured homes:
Pros of Retiring in Manufactured Homes
- Customizable Space: Manufactured homes enable you to perform various renovation projects like interior renovations and room additions with ease.
- Senior-Focused Community: If you’re a retiree, you wouldn’t feel out of place. Many manufactured home communities focus on older adults over 55. Reports even show that the government plays an active role in helping lower-income retirees secure affordable, long-term housing options in trailer parks.
- Affordable Housing Option: Manufactured homes rank among the most affordable housing options on the market. Reports show that homeowners spent an average of $57,700 for single-wide manufactured homes spanning between 784 to 1,440 square feet.
- Low-Maintenance: Property maintenance involves laborious, time-consuming tasks, which retirees would rather avoid altogether. Fortunately, manufactured homes require little to no upkeep. Since these housing options typically only span around 600 square feet, you’ll only have to worry about routine house chores and occasional repairs.
Cons of Retiring in Manufactured Homes
- Long-Term Devaluation: Manufactured homes depreciate over time since they’re not classified as real property. Look into stick-built homes if you need long-term investments.
- Different Loan Requirements: Since financial institutions don’t consider manufactured homes real property, they wouldn’t qualify for mortgage loans. Instead, you’ll have to settle for a personal loan.
- Negative Stigma: Although many manufactured home communities maintain a clean, safe living environment for older adults, society still sees trailer parks in a negative light. Some will even discriminate against you for living in a manufactured home.
- Limited Living Space: Manufactured homes typically span around 600 to 1,000 square feet, so don’t expect too much out of your living space. You probably wouldn’t even have a backyard.
Top Manufactured Homes Retirement Communities
Although some retirees might feel excited about choosing between dozens of manufactured home communities, inexperienced homebuyers find the options overwhelming.
To aid you with the buying process, we made a roundup of the best affordable and upscale manufactured home communities in the following states:
Average Home Price: $48,000
Park Address: 4801 9th St E, Bradenton, FL 34203
The Grove ranks among the most affordable upscale manufactured home communities in Florida. It features a spacious 40-acre park with 270+ homes that have access to multiple artificial ponds, picnic sites, heated pools, and shared clubhouses.
Average Home Price: $200,000
Park Address: 2934 Griffin View Dr, Lady Lake, FL 32159
Spend your retirement years enjoying the peak of luxury retirement in Florida at Lady Lake. This upscale manufactured home community boasts the most gorgeous, well-constructed modern homes on the market.
They also have a clubhouse. However, you might not want to go outdoors so much, considering the stunning indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Average Home Price: $120,000
Park Address: 4600 Columbia Road, Martinez, GA 30907, USA
Wymberly offers an upscale, super-accessible manufactured home community. Not only does it feature a gorgeous picnic grove, clubhouse, and golf course, you’ll also have access to various shopping districts and medical facilities.
Average Home Price: $50,000
Park Address: 8378 Hogan Rd, Fenton, MI 48430, United States
Tyrone Woods ranks among the most family-friendly manufactured homes parks on this list. It doesn’t solely cater to seniors.
If you choose to live here with your family, you’ll have access to various amenities like spas and parks. Also, the park’s near reputable educational institutions in the Linden School District. You wouldn’t have to worry about your grandkid’s schooling.
Average Home Price: $65,000
Park Address: 9900 Townsquare Blvd, Fenton, MI 48430, United States
Cider Mill Crossings features a diverse range of senior manufactured homes for sale. Their listings could go anywhere from as low as $60,000 to $200,000, depending on your preferred structure.
Also, the community offers multiple amenities. As a resident, you’ll have access to their clubhouse, heated pool, spa, fitness center, and library.
Average Home Price: $430 /month
Park Address: 2500 E U.S. Business 83, Mission, TX 78572, United States
El Valle Del Sol serves as the perfect short-term housing option for wandering retirees. They accommodate monthly and annual lease contracts.
Admittedly, the park itself is nothing to write home about. However, since it sits in the Rio Grande Valley, you’ll have unlimited access to nearby destinations like South Padre Island and Mexico
Are Manufactured Homes a Suitable Housing Option for Your Family?
Is a manufactured home good for retirement? Whether you choose to retire in a manufactured or stick-built home depends on how you plan to spend your senior years.
If you want a peaceful, low-cost retirement with your partner, look into senior manufactured homes for sale that suit your budget. You’ll only have to spend a fraction of your pension.
Alternatively, retirees planning to live with multiple household members and have no need to downgrade their lifestyle can check out stick-built homes.
The construction and land acquisition will cost exponentially more. However, you’ll have a much larger living space, plus your real estate property’s value could continue appreciating over time.
Ultimately, the choice boils down to your desired lifestyle. Explore your options!