What are Manufactured Housing Estates (MHEs)?
Over the last few decades the manufactured housing industry within Australia has progressively transformed from a primarily holiday accommodation caravan park setting to an increasingly diversified mix of affordable permanent housing.
Technological advancements in manufacturing have been a catalyst behind demand growth. The distinction between a MHE home and a traditional home is increasingly becoming blurred from a design perspective with modern MHEs being designed to replicate trends in the broader housing market. With a growing number of retiree households favouring the simplified cost structure of MHEs, operators have responded by offering high quality homes, targeting aged persons of all income levels. Notably, this has seen the inclusion of community facilitates normally found at retirement villages including swimming pools, bowling greens, tennis courts and community centres.
Modern MHEs provide affordability for retirees without compromising on quality, security, or facilities. The upper end of MHE development are becoming of a much higher standard than other retirement living alternatives.
Community facilities available in MHEs typically including swimming pools, tennis courts, bowling greens, community halls, parks, nature trails, BBQ areas and even marina births. The manufactures homes are fully services and presented in such a way that they have a similar appearance to a fixed building with timber or rendered facades, decks, pergolas and carports.
So what is a Manufactured Home Estate (MHE)?
A manufactured home is a self-contained dwelling that is either built or packaged off-site and then transported to the estate for installation. This includes any associated structures that form part of the dwelling. A manufactured home is also known as ‘relocatable home’, ‘manufactured home’ or ‘mobile home’. It is noted that a manufactured home does not include a tent, caravan or any moveable dwelling capable of being registered under the road and transport act.
Manufactured Home Estate
Manufactured Home Estates (MHE) are land or estates developed specifically for manufactured homes and on which manufactured homes are installed. A MHE may be fully dedicated to manufactured homes or may contain a combination of mainly manufactured homes and a smaller proportion of caravan and/or camping sites. Within the MHE development, there must be reticulated water, sewerage, drainage and electricity connected to each lot.
Permanent residents of MHE purchase and own the manufactured home and lease the dwelling site upon which the home is located. Residents pay a rental for the site which includes the site rental as well as the operation/management of the MHE and use of the community facilities if any provided. The underlying land, utility connections, roads and common facilities such as swimming pool and clubhouse is retained by the land owner who operates as a manager or leases to a third-party manager.
How the MHE model works
Unlike traditional seniors living accommodation, MHEs operate under a different funding structure. Permanent residents of MHEs purchase and own the manufactures home and lease the dwelling site upon which the home is located. Residents pay a rental return for the site which includes the site rental as well as the operation/management of the MHE and use of the community facilities. There are instances where residents can obtain rental assistance to cover site fees through Federal Government subsidies.
Similarly, to traditional residential and retirement assets, MHEs are available at different price points, based on the level of facilities, quality and location. The underlying land, utility connections, roads and common facilities such as swimming pool and clubhouse is retained by the land owner who operates as a manager or leases to a third-party manager.
- A manufactured home estate is a community where the resident lives in a relocatable home
- Homeowners own their own home and lease the land upon which their home is located via a weekly site fee. The rent/site fee is paid to the land owner/operator
- The rent/site fee covers: Management and maintenance of the community and associated facilities
Evolution of Manufactured Home Estate (MHE)
Manufactured Home Estates (MHEs) have emerged as a viable housing option for not only low income senior households but the broader retiree population. Once utilised as holiday accommodation featuring caravans, MHEs have become an affordable alternative to traditional seniors living accommodation and in turn has attracted significant investor interest over the past five years.
The manufactured housing industry has undergone immense changes since the late 1970s. Advances in manufactured home designs and increased consumer demand has driven a shift from smaller affordable housing to more high-end manufactured homes designed to resemble traditional bricks and mortar houses.
Both manufacturers of re-locatable homes and park owners have jointly worked at changing the negative stereotype of ‘caravan parks’ by promoting the construction of manufactured home estates’ which include resort-style clubhouse and recreational facilities. This has resulted in an increase in the longer-term tenancy mix and the targeting of the over-50s market.
Modern over-50s lifestyle MHEs provide a wide variety of community facilities including swimming pools, tennis courts, bowling greens, community halls, parks, nature trails, barbeque areas and even marina berths.
Today’s manufactured homes present in such a way that they appear to be more of a fixed building including rendered facades, high-end interior fittings and fixtures, decks, pergolas and carports.
Modern manufactured homes combined with resort community facilities offers a favourable and more affordable alternative to traditional retirement villages. Significantly over-50s lifestyle MHEs are governed by less onerous legislation on a state by state basis, as compared to retirement villages.
– Colliers International. Healthcare and Retirement Living Australia. Research and Forecast report. June 2015.
– Department of Housing and Public Works, Queensland Government. Manufactured Homes Survey 2013, Report on Findings. Review of the Manufactured Homes (Residential Parks) Act 2013.
– Colliers International. Manufactured Home Estates. Australian Market Overview, November 2014.
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