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Mobile homes offer another housing option

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POSTED September 4, 2009 2:31 a.m.
Four years ago it wasn’t unusual for a mobile home in a park like Manteca’s El Rancho Estates to sell for $180,000.

Today, the impact of foreclosures on the housing market has sent mobile home prices below $80,000.

Mobile homes fit well into specific lifestyle choices and financial situations. They also have another advantage today over traditional housing.

Sandy McNairy of Aksland Real Estate noted buyers would be hard pressed to find homes in as good condition  in today’s market at the price they can secure a mobile home.

McNairy noted the price range of her current nine mobile home listings is $19,000 to $79,000. That price range for traditional homes in foreclosure is for the most part tear downs. Besides having to spend money to make them livable as well as for cosmetic touches, the foreclosures  have yards that need to be maintained plus may have serious issues with crime and such.

That isn’t the case in a gated mobile home park such as El Rancho that is open to those who are 55 years or older.

“There is a strong sense of community where people look out for each other,” McNairy said.

McNairy noted most mobile home buyers in places like El Rancho have lived in mobile homes previously and are sold on the lifestyle.

“They like being able to shut (things) up for a month or so at a time and travel and not worry about things,” McNairy said.

The small yards that come with the homes are just the right size for a pet or for small, manageable gardens. And ultimately after mortgages are paid off, the space rent can be comparable to a small, single bedroom apartment without the problem of having to worry about people living either above, below or next to you.

Mobile home loans typically run 10 to 15 years depending upon the amount of money put down. Interest rate currently for mobile home loans are from between 8 to 10 percent. McNairy said locally Golden Valley Credit Union is an excellent source for such loans.

Some naysayers argue that space rents can make buying a mobile home an issue.

McNairy noted that El Rancho charges its current tenants $360 a month while those who move into the park today are charged $440. That is still easily $100 below comparable parks plus El Rancho covers all municipal utility costs – sewer, water, and garbage – that can and $80 onto the monthly costs.

Ultimately, the cost advantage is the fact space rent is typically less than an apartment that means once the mobile home is paid off the affordability of living increases which is a key issue with those in retirement.

The mobile homes that McNairy has listed are:

•$29,900: 1,152 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms manufactured in 1986 in The Grove Mobile Home Park on Held Drive in Modesto. Space rent is $575.

•$19,000: 728 square feet with two bedrooms and one bathroom manufactured in 1974 in El Rancho Estates at 1830 E. Yosemite Ave. in Manteca. Space rent is $440.

•$55,000: 1,040 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms manufactured in 1972 in El Rancho Estates at 1830 E. Yosemite Ave. in Manteca. Space rent is $440.

•$59,000: 1,248 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms manufactured in 1996 in El Rancho Estates at 1830 E. Yosemite Ave. in Manteca. Space rent is $440.

•$39,800: 1,152 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms manufactured in 1978 in El Rancho Estates at 1830 E. Yosemite Ave. in Manteca. Space rent is $440.

•$55,000: 1,213 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms manufactured in 1997 in El Rancho Estates at 1830 E. Yosemite Ave. in Manteca. Space rent is $440.

•$69,000: 1,384 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms manufactured in 1980 in El Rancho Estates at 1830 E. Yosemite Ave. in Manteca. Space rent is $440.

•$45,000: 2,000 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms manufactured in 1978 in Oakwood Mobile Home Park on Woodward in Manteca. Space rent is $332.

•$25,000: 940 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms manufactured in 1996 in Walnut Grove Estates at 365 E. Louise Ave. in Lathrop. Space rent is $475.

To contact McNairy either drop by Aksland Real Estate at Yosemite and Main in downtown Manteca or call 610-4339.
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