Mobile Homes Are Now Selling For Millions

Oh, California.


Trailers were supposed to be cheap. The prefab, space-efficient housing was, by nature, always more affordable than whatever suburban homes the neighbors were living in. But what happens when the neighbors are living in $20 million mansions? You get multimillion-dollar mobile homes.


The Wall Street Journal reports that wealthy people–especially on the West Coast–are moving into trailers. Mobile home sales have fallen by more than half over the past decade (with no help from the housing crisis), but the people who are buying these homes are spending a lot more–to the tune of 140% on top of a $90,000 base cost just in upgrades–fancying them up with hardwood floors and granite countertops.

The really outlandish pricing, though, is created by the expensive California real estate that these homes sit on–driving mobile homes up to the $3.75 million mark in the poshest areas. WSJ explains why:

Multimillion-dollar properties are no rarity at Paradise Cove, the Malibu, Calif., mobile-home community where the couple, both retired from the film industry, this spring purchased a two-bedroom, 1,800-square-foot trailer for $1.25 million. Earlier this year, a trailer in the park–which in the past has included residents like actor Matthew McConaughey–sold for $2.55 million. And in July, a four-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot trailer with a hot tub and two-car garage went on the market for $3.75 million.

Such prices are partly attributable to Paradise Cove’s location. On a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the park is surrounded by conventional homes that can run in the $20 million to $40 million range, said Michael Gardner, an agent with Prudential Malibu Realty…these trailers look little different from upscale conventional homes–though all of them have a trailer axle hidden somewhere underneath and can be moved, at least technically.

Of course, the savings may not be all that they seem. As the Journal points out, a mortgage on a trailer typically runs an extra 1% to 2% over a conventional home. As if being the butt of a Jeff Foxworthy routine weren’t enough.

Read more here.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach