Mobile Homes Are Now Selling For Millions

Mobile homes — commonly referred to as “trailers” — have always been considered inexpensive. The prefab, space-efficient housing has a history of being more affordable than whatever suburban homes the neighbors were living in, but what happens when those neighbors are living in $20 million mansions? Simple: You get multimillion-dollar mobile homes. Today, wealthy people — especially on the West Coast — are moving into trailers. Mobile home sales have fallen by more than half over the past decade, but the people who are buying them now are spending somewhere in the neighborhood of 140% on top of the $90,000 base cost just in upgrades — fancying them up with hardwood floors and granite countertops. The outlandish pricing is created by the expensive California real estate that these homes sit on, driving mobile homes over the $3 million mark in the poshest areas. In 2017, the average sales price for a mobile home in the U.S. was $71,900. By 2022, that number had spiked 77% to $127,300. At the same time, traditionally built single-family dwellings clocked in at $293,737 but only saw prices rise by 47% to $430,800 in that same period. In the face of such expensive real estate, many would-be buyers may consider more affordable options like mobile homes, but just because mobile homes are typically less expensive than more traditional housing doesn’t mean they’re cheap. Take Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park in Malibu, Calif., where mobile homes are reaching staggering prices like $4.2 million and $5.3 million. Similarly, Montauk Shores, a seaside mobile home park on the tip of Long Island in the Hamptons, recently offered a 2-bedroom, 2-bath beachfront trailer for a hefty $3.75 million. While mobile homes may look like the way to go, they’re really not a wise investment because they lose value over time. History has shown that a $150,000 mobile home can depreciate more than $50,000 in just 5 years. That’s not a good investment, it’s a money pit.