Is Living In A Manufactured Home Cheaper Than An Apartment?

Real estate prices have been soaring year after year in the United States (Arizona, California, etc) and people have in turn decided to look for affordable housing. Many people opt to rent apartments because it is cheaper to do so compared to getting a mortgage.

However, even though renting an apartment can be more affordable, in the long –run it can be an expensive option. A better alternative is manufactured houses.

Manufactured homes have come a long way and they offer most of the amenities that apartments have without a high price tag.

Is living in a manufactured home cheaper than an apartment? Yes, it is. Manufactured homes offer several benefits compared to renting an apartment. Not only are they cheaper to own than an apartment, but they are also cheaper to build and maintain. Building such a home costs 10% to 30% less per square foot compared to a site-built home.

You can also opt to rent a manufactured home instead of building one, and renting is quite affordable because the rent ranges between $300 and $700 meaning you pay less than $1000 per month for a house with your compound. On the other hand, the average rent for an apartment is about $1200 and you have no ownership of the dwelling.

The owners of manufactured homes achieve most of the savings at the factory because builders reap the benefit of economies of scale. The factories can buy substantial materials, appliances, and products at more cost-effective rates than typical on-site builders.  (There are also retailers that will lease appliances to you.) Factories also manage their workers effectively to control production costs.

Besides, a manufactured house is built at the assembly line, and this is more efficient and controlled, unlike building a house on site. Many times, theft and vandalism of building materials, bad weather, and disagreements with contractors and sub-contractors affect on-site construction negatively. Factories also control labor costs and effectively manage their workers.

This shows that building a manufactured home is cheaper than building an apartment.

Apart from the cost of building a manufactured home being lower, the other benefits that come with this housing option include:

Low Maintenance Costs

Many people have a misconception that manufactured homes constantly fall apart and will require a lot of maintenance but this is not the case.

All you need to do to maintain your home is just some small repairs and replacements here and there to keep it in excellent condition. You can also paint it from time to time, which does not cost an arm and a leg.

You also need to look out for cracks which can be caused by settling of the house. Since most manufactured houses are made of wood, you also need to look out for moisture to avoid problems like mold infestation and wood rot.

Maintaining a manufactured is more cost-effective than maintaining a brick house because the materials used to build the home are cheaper and easier to work with when doing renovations.

People who buy manufactured homes also save money by living in communities that offer services like:

  • Trash removal
  • Lawn maintenance
  • Snowplowing

Activities And Amenities

Some apartment complexes provide tenants with amenities such as on-site fitness centers and swimming pools. They may also provide periodic community events like game nights, holiday parties, and dances. Similar activities and amenities are available in some manufactured home communities.


Quality Controlled And Safe

Manufactured homes are engineered for energy efficiency and wind safety based on the geographic area where they are sold. Steel anchors can hold them in place to secure them to the ground.

When living in an apartment, making aesthetic or decorative changes to it is a challenge because most landlords are strict and will not allow you to make the changes you want.

Changing the color of the walls or drilling in hooks for hanging picture frames or artwork is not allowed in most apartments because landlords want the house to remain in the same condition for future tenants.

The advantage of owning your own manufactured house is that you can;

Some manufactured home parks require that the exterior is kept at a certain standard to blend with other units. However, the interior of your house is yours and you can do whatever you like with it unlike and an apartment where you are not allowed to change the interior.


Note: About 75% of manufactured homes are on private property, while 25% are in communities where a homeowner can lease the lot.

Homeowners can either own or rent the land where the house stands. Owning a home is an added advantage because it means you can build equity and use the home as collateral for loans. Manufactured homes are termed as private property, just like a car.

If you permanently attach a manufactured home to a valuable piece of private property and then convert it into real estate, its value does not depreciate. The value of the property and home grows with time contrary to the belief that mobile homes depreciate faster. Doing upgrades of the home also increases its value.

Not many people can own apartments. Most apartments are for rent, meaning that many people living in rental apartments are not able to build equity because they do not own the house. You spend money every month for an apartment, and this money has no returns.

If you own an apartment and it is located within the city or near an upcoming neighborhood, it can be a substantial financial asset. There are some areas where prices of apartments skyrocket year after year.

However, apartments are expensive to purchase, unlike manufactured homes, and if the neighborhood goes downhill, you can end up suffering severe losses. An apartment cannot be moved, unlike a mobile home.

According to a study that the University of New Hampshire performed, people who own manufactured homes can sell them more quickly as opposed to people who own apartments.

Furthermore, these people say that they have more control over their lots, and they do not often worry about their park getting closed.


Owning a manufactured home gives you the advantage of living in a spacious community for about half the rental price of an average apartment. You will not be worried about noisy neighbors above you or nosy neighbors trying to listen to your conversation as a manufactured home gives you all the privacy you need.


Manufactured homes are spacious. They may have three or two bedrooms with two bathrooms, a kitchen, a living area, a foyer, and a utility room.

An apartment with such much space can be costly to rent. Space drives the prices of apartments up.

If you already have a standard apartment and you are paying more for it than you would pay for a manufactured home, then getting a bigger apartment will only drain your pockets.

For a person with a growing family and a tight budget, a manufactured home is a good housing solution since it will help you save money. Such a house also gives you more room for the children. Your kids can use the backyard as a play area.


A significant difference between apartment buildings and manufactured homes is that manufactured homes are usually set up further away from the city center.

These areas are quieter because they are away from all the hustle and noise of cities. If you want to live in a quiet area, then a manufactured home is a good option for you.

Apartments are usually located close to city centers, malls, workplaces, and schools. The proximity of apartments to city centers can be positive and also unfavorable. The main disadvantage is having to deal with the noise and other hassles and bustles of the city.

The right location to set up a manufactured home greatly depends on your preferences. If you do not worry about all the noise of the city, then you can choose to set it up close to the city.


Which one is for you, living in an apartment or a manufactured home? From the above points regarding finance and other general differences of living in a manufactured home or an apartment, you can make an informed decision.

Some people want to enjoy the bustling city life so that they are not left out on what happens in cities, but others prefer to live in a quieter and more spacious environment of a manufactured home community.

If you choose to live in a manufactured home, you are at an advantage because you will save yourself some good amount of money and live in a fantastic environment.

However, not everyone wants to live in a manufactured home. Before you choose to live in an apartment or manufactured home, it is essential to compare the pros and cons of either option so that you can make the right decision for you and your family.

(Additional options are condos, motorhomes and barndos).