After decades of Americans seeking to live in as large a home as they can possibly get financed, which culminated in the Great Recession of 2007, housing tastes have changed dramatically over the past decade. Many Americans are now striving to live in as small a space as possible, with the resulting tiny cost of doing so. This movement is collectively known as “tiny homes” and the strength of this demand has resulted in no fewer than five television shows based on “tiny homes”, such as Tiny House Nation and Tiny House Hunters. So how will this impact the mobile home park industry?
Reduction in the mobile home park “stigma”
The mobile home park industry has battled an unfair stigma for decades, created by the media’s delight in running shows such as Trailer Park Boys and Myrtle Manor. This “trailer trash” stigma is being eroded by positive media attention. Who ever thought that a mobile home product would be on the cover of Dwell Magazine or an RV in Town & Country? It is our hope that the stigma will eventually be extinguished in most of America, as it has already been put to rest in most states north of Oklahoma.
An increase in demand for our product
As Americans change to a new mindset of “less is more”, it increases demand for the smallest form of detached housing, which is our product type. Although the tiny homes shown on TV are “park models” that are not HUD code housing, most Americans don’t want to sleep in a tiny loft or use a bathroom that is smaller than the backseat of a car, and will naturally gravitate into standard mobile home units, which, while still tiny, are about twice the size of the average tiny home.
A refreshing entry of new, younger customers
If you watch the shows on TV, you will see that the majority of tiny home advocates are younger generations. This is a refreshing change for the industry, as affluent younger customers have never been a huge part of our demand base. This is a breath of fresh air for the industry and bodes well for the product’s demand going forward.
Some new design ideas
A simple trip to any mobile home show – such as Louisville or Tunica – will immediately demonstrate the desire to upgrade mobile home designs to meet this new tiny home demand. Flower boxes under windows, wood laminate flooring, upscale cabinetry – these are all features that originated in tiny homes. And they all look great. We anticipate accelerating design options that are more aesthetically pleasing ad good for the industry.
The “tiny home” movement is a huge asset for the mobile home park industry. It’s been a half-decade since the industry was considered “chic” (don’t forget that Elvis lived in a mobile home park in the films Speedway (1964) and It Happened at the World’s Fair (1968)). We are excited to be viewed in a positive light again.