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All you need to know about mobile homes

#Real estate in Quebec

Last update : 2024-04-23 10:18:10

With ever-increasing rents and exorbitant real estate prices, mobile homes are regaining popularity among the younger generation. For many, this type of housing is the ideal solution to becoming a homeowner.

Like any real estate purchase, buying a mobile home requires careful consideration. To make an advised decision, you need to be informed. That is why we have compiled the most important information you need to know about mobile homes.

What is a mobile home?

First of all, what is a mobile home? For some people, a mobile home is a compromise between renting and owning. It is a way to balance those two lifestyles.

More specifically, a mobile home is a custom, factory-built modular home that is then transported and placed on the owner's chosen site. Although usually installed to remain there permanently, the home retains its mobile character. It can be moved, if necessary, but this requires considerable effort and equipment.

In terms of dimensions, a mobile home is often the equivalent of a 4 ½ or 5 ½. Its rooms are on a single floor, with no basement or other level.

Mobile home vs. tiny home: what is the difference?

You have probably heard of tiny homes, the small dwellings that are taking up more and more space in the housing market. In many ways, they are similar to mobile homes, with smaller footprints, lower costs and municipal regulations to which they must comply.

However, mini-homes have a reputation for being more efficient, ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing than traditional mobile homes. So, if you are considering purchasing an alternative home, they may be another interesting option for you.

Mobile home

The advantages of this type of housing

Like any type of property, a mobile home has its advantages. Among these are:

  • Price. Mobile homes are much less expensive than standard real estate, especially after the historic rise in prices in recent years.
  • Maintenance. Because of the smaller footprint, interior and exterior maintenance is much quicker than for a standard-sized home.
  • Peace and quiet. Unlike an apartment, no one will step on your head. More distant neighbours mean more peace.
  • Security. Living in a mobile home park is a lot like living in a campground. This type of place is often preferred by the elderly because of the safety aspect.
  • Quality. Contrary to popular belief, most mobile homes have been well-maintained and updated over the years.

Disadvantages of mobile homes

There are some disadvantages to buying a mobile home, including:

  • Higher interest rates. Due to a lack of competition among lenders, mortgage rates offered are generally higher.
  • Shorter amortization. Unlike a traditional 25-year mortgage, the amortization of a mobile home loan is sometimes reduced to 20 years, which increases monthly payments.
  • Leased land. While some may see this as an advantage, renting a lot means you have to budget for additional costs. Rental rates vary by location.
  • The threat of eviction. Not owning your land means that there is always a risk, however small, of being forced to leave the site without being able to contest it.

House fund jar for buying a mobile home

How much does a mobile home cost?

The price of a mobile home is much lower than that of a standard single-family home. As of June 2023, mobile homes listed on Centris across Quebec had an average price of $160,000.

By comparison, the average median price of a single-family home in the province in 2022 was $412,500. That is a big difference for your wallet! The increased affordability of mobile homes is one of the reasons more young households are turning to this type of housing.

Of course, asking prices can vary from region to region and tend to rise near high-demand areas. However, it remains more affordable than other types of property.

To this price, you must add the cost of renting the land, since you don't own the land on which the house is built. This is usually no more than $300 per month.

You also need to add the cost of the “welcome tax” (property transfer duties), which is now mandatory for mobile homeowners, as well as property and school taxes, and notary fees, to complete the transaction.

Does a mobile home increase in value?

When you buy a property, you want it to appreciate so that when you are ready to sell, you get a return on your investment. The same goes for a mobile home. But does it appreciate? That is indeed a fair question.

It all depends on the demand for this type of property. In general, mobile homes appreciate very little over time.

However, due to their renewed appeal and specific market conditions, they have appreciated in recent years, although at a slower rate than other real estate categories.

Mobile homes park

Where can a mobile home be installed in Quebec?

Mobile homes must be installed in a zone specifically set aside for this purpose. You can't build a mobile home on just any piece of land.

In Quebec, several companies own mobile home parks. They offer sites for rent in various towns across the province, including:

  • Bromont;
  • Granby;
  • Morin-Heights;
  • Rimouski;
  • Saint-Colomban;
  • Saint-Paul-d'Abbotsford;
  • Saint-Sauveur;
  • Sorel;
  • And many more.

Mobile homes: a solution to the housing crisis?

Those hoping that mobile homes could be a potential solution to the current housing crisis will undoubtedly be disappointed.

Despite its obvious advantages, it is not possible to apply this model on a large scale, at least not yet. Park owners must contend with numerous regulations and zoning restrictions that limit their ability to act.

However, a growing interest in this type of property could eventually encourage municipalities to adapt their bylaws to encourage the spread of mobile homes on their territory.

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