Housing Policy Debate
Co-authored by Noah J. Durst and #UnequalCities Network member Esther Sullivan
Abstract: Manufactured housing (MH) is a central component of affordable housing in the United States. Yet the MH tenure ranges from manufactured homes on privately owned property to rental units, to owned homes placed on rented lots in mobile home parks. Despite the widespread use of MH, no current research has analyzed the high level of internal variation within MH or documented how this variation impacts housing affordability between MH tenures. Moreover, little is known about the degree of segregation of manufactured homes, which are often clustered in mobile home parks and informal subdivisions. This study represents a first-time national analysis of demographic, spatial, and affordability characteristics with regard to variation between MH tenures, using data from the American Housing Survey. By disaggregating various MH tenures and clustered community arrangements, we detail the demographic and geographic characteristics of MH households by housing tenure, analyze how housing costs differ across MH tenures, and demonstrate that MH is highly segregated from the conventional housing stock in a way that impacts housing affordability. These findings offer policy prescriptions for MH policy specifically and may contribute to broader affordable housing policy in the United States.