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Manufactured Home Estates: An Affordable Retirement Option

Manufactured Home Estates: An Affordable Retirement Option

The pressure of Australia’s ageing population and a growing desire for affordability calls for an investigation into the diversity of housing options. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), during 2016 there were 3.7 million Australians aged over 65 years, representing 15% of the population. This is a significant increase from the 1976 ABS figure of 1.3 million people aged over 65 years, representing only 9% of the population.

Aged care and retirement villages are the two more common accommodation choices, whilst Manufactured Home Estates (MHEs) are less recognised. MHEs are a house like structure that are traditionally designed to be moved, not permanently attached to land. However, in recent years there has been a move towards more luxurious and permanent structures. MHEs are found in purpose-built parks, made up of manufactured homes exclusively, and are often targeted to the over-50s age group. These homes are managed/owned by a park owner.  A resident can purchase the house structure but not the land.

MHEs offer a more affordable alternative with remarkable investment benefits in a highly demand driven market. However, there is a lack of industry information available, which has led to this research project. The primary aim of this research is to determine the affordability of MHEs, the possible benefits, and potential problems of MHEs for both residents, developers and operators. The secondary aim is to establish avenues for future research to encourage more exposure on this alternative accommodation solution.

The average listing price of MHEs in the South East Queensland (SEQ) region was $338,178, which is lower than the median house prices in Queensland metro areas such as Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. This suggests that MHEs can address some affordability issues and accommodate certain demographics of the retired population. The lower to middle wealth retirees can achieve this by selling their home and purchasing a MHE. This will allow them to have sufficient cash left over to afford a comfortable lifestyle. In saying this, there are some major challenges in the MHE industry relating to:

The availability of suitable and affordable land,

  1. Determining what to provide and for who,
  2. Keeping up with demand, and
  3. Providing a higher level of care.

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