Foremost Report: Manufactured Home Customer Survey and Market Facts

Foremost Insurance Company has sponsored corporate studies of the manufactured home market since 1979. In recent years, their report is updated every 4 years. The 16 page report attached began by collecting information on October 2 through October 18, 2012. Their survey includes responses from 10,002 respondents who are owners or residents of a manufactured home or a pre-HUD code ‘mobile home.’ This makes Foremost’s attached report on manufactured home owners satisfaction and market facts one of the most important documents of its kind.


Regardless if you are a shopping for a home, a public official, media, educator, investor or other researcher, this report will have insights for everyone who wants to learn more about manufactured home owners!

Quality, Affordable Living Facts

  • 40% of manufactured home owners don’t anticipate ever selling or moving from their current home

  • 54% had a degree or some college education
  • 55% of manufactured home owners who responded had an annual household income of less than $30,000

  • 27% of all manufactured home households (owner-occupied) own one or more specialty product, which includes Boat, Motorcycle, Motor Home, Travel Trailer, Sailboat, Personal Watercraft, ATV and Snowmobile


Where did the Survey Respondents Live?

The map of the United States shown below reflects the number of respondents which came from each of the states, which suggests that this report is a strong cross section of manufactured home owners. Since Foremost is one of the largest insurers of manufactured housing, that also suggests the accuracy of the survey.


For those who think that manufactured home owners are poor people with little education and lack what the rest of American’s do, this survey is quite a wake up! As noted above, most manufactured home owners have at least some college. While many have incomes under $30,000, we know from other reports on ManufacturedHomeLivingNews  that even the wealthy may select a modern manufactured home, as some millionaires and movie stars do. The CBS News video at the link here demonstrates that a number of millionaires find manufactured homes ‘trendy’ and appealing.

So it should come as no surprise that 2 years ago, 89% of manufactured home owners were using social media, which means they are on line. This is very similar to the rest of the U.S. population.


Remember that the survey is voluntary, so it is interesting to note that 23% of those say they have a net worth of over $100,000. Again, this shakes the unfair stereotype that manufactured home owners are all ‘poor people.’  We should celebrate affordablity and respect the fact that a manufactured home is a good option selected by some 20 million plus in the U.S..


Where are these Manufactured Homes Sited?

The chart below shows the growing trend toward living in a land lease manufactured home community (aka “mobile home park”).  But the majority of home owners own their land. Others live in a condo or coop community, what some call a ‘resident owned community.’


When where these Manufactured Homes in the survey Bought?

62% of the manufactured homes in the survey were purchased or acquired since the year 2000, up from 49% 4 years ago.  Perhaps more revealing is that some 98% of the homes are apparnetly aquired since the era of manufactured homes, meaning most were built to the federal manufactured home construction and safety standards, known as the HUD Code. So a smaller number of the homes were ‘mobile homes,’ meaning homes built prior to the HUD Code.


Owners Overwhelmingly plan to Live Long Term in the Manufactured Home

For those who wonder about how owners view their manufactured home, perhaps no fact is as important as this next one! Some 70% of those surveyed said they plan to live in their homes 6 years on up to for the rest of their life. Those who never plan to sell their MH made up a whopping 40% of respondents.


One part of the study that is a call to action for homeowners, associations as well as other professionals is that way too many people are not calling their manufactured home by their proper name.

As a reminder, if a home was built prior to June 15, 1976, the date the federal manufactured home standards (HUD Code) went into effect, it is properly called a mobile home. A factory-built home since that constructed to the HUD Code is a manufactured home. A “trailer” is something pulled behind a car or truck – like a boat trailer or utility trailer – and so it is a flawed description for a mobile or manufactured home, because most require special equipment to move them.


For those who wonder, why does it matter what you call a manufactured home? Two quick answers;

  • If you live in a manufactured home and want to sell it, which do you think will bring you a higher resale price?  An ad that uses the “T” word (tr-iler) or “Manufactured Home.” The answer is obvious! 🙂  We know from our sister-consulting operation from first hand experience that the same home with the T word vs. manufactured home, the proper name will bring you more.

  • Finally, manufactured home is the proper legal name for a home built on or since June 15, 1976.  Words matter, and we should try to use the right ones.

The complete 2012 Foremost Market survey can be downloaded from the link here. ManufacturedHomeLivingNews  thanks Joanna Carey and Joe Kaffenberger with Foremost Insurance for providing us with this exclusive copy of their copyrighted report, free for the personal use of our readers.  The observations made above are not those of Foremost Insurance or its team members.  ##

l.a.tony.kovach-publisher-manufacturedhomelivingnews-com-mhpronews-com-mhc-md-com-By L A Tony Kovach

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