Manufactured Homes Help Meet New Hampshire’s Affordable Housing Need


Lynzey Ly, left, is secretary of the Brookside Cooperative, and David Kirsch, president. The co-op purchased the Hill mobile home park last April.

Amid the growing affordable housing crisis in New Hampshire, there has been a long-standing effort to address the problem: the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH initiative, which has helped create and preserve 1 270 affordable manufactured homes over the past three years while providing mortgages to hundreds of buyers who otherwise would not qualify.

ROCs, or resident-owned communities, now make up about a third of the prefabricated house communities in Granite State. Most recently, the Community Loan Fund’s ROC-NH program helped the owners of Evans Mobile Home Park in Epping buy their community of 21 homes. Evans Cooperative is the 140th ROC in the state and was the sixth to convert in 2021. In total, the 140 ROCs contain nearly 8,500 permanently affordable housing units, as the communities are non-profit cooperatives. Lot rents (the fees that landlords pay to use the land under their homes) only increase when necessary to pay for the increased costs of running the community.

Sarah Wrightsman, community engagement coordinator for the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority and former executive director of the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast, says ROC communities are an important part of the state’s housing image.

“These communities contribute to both the overall diversity and affordability of our homes,” she says. “These are permanently affordable homeownership opportunities, in addition to an incredibly limited housing supply, especially affordable housing, in New Hampshire.”

She emphasizes that essential members of our workforce and our communities have taken up residence in the ROCs. These are the people who work in our schools, hospitals and other health care facilities, grocery stores and restaurants, farms and municipal services.

Circulate money locally

Ownership by residents of these communities not only preserves a vital source of affordable housing and labor, says Steve Saltzman, president and CEO of the Community Loan Fund, but also allows the park’s revenue to flow locally. More and more, the prefabricated house fleets are bought by investment companies that make large profits in the houses.

“When this happens, money leaves our communities with no proportional return in service or value,” says Saltzman. “It’s just sucked out of these neighborhoods to line the pockets of investors.”

The worst-case scenario is the closure of the park – when an owner wants to change the use of the land. In these cases, park residents who cannot afford the more than $ 10,000 it takes to physically move their homes, instead abandon them and may become homeless.

State law gives residents some recourse when a business’s ownership is threatened – park owners are required to give 60 days’ notice of an impending sale to owners of manufactured home communities must negotiate over. good faith to sell to their residents.

“An excellent option”

“Manufactured homes in resident-owned communities are a great option for New Hampshire homebuyers,” says Ignatius MacLellan, general manager of the homeownership division of New Hampshire Housing. “Because the market is so competitive, many low- and middle-income people struggle to find a home to buy. The Community Loan Fund’s efforts to add new homes within existing resident-owned communities is an important initiative.

Key to this effort is the affordability of manufactured homes. The average price of new homes is less than $ 1,000, while two-bedroom apartments go for almost $ 1,500.

And ROC residents enjoy benefits far beyond affordability. When Brookside Cooperative in Hill bought its park last April, co-op president David Kirsch said he immediately saw a heightened sense of responsibility and commitment among the residents of Brookside.

“We are making plans to complete all urgent repairs and look to the future to see what else we can do to improve the condition of the park. There is a growing sense of community that I didn’t see before, ”he said. “None of this would have been possible if we had chosen to simply let another private investor buy the park.”

In addition to helping convert parks to ROC, the Community Loan Fund’s “welcome loans” help homeowners who would not qualify for a conventional mortgage.

Loans are customized for homebuyers who have little or no credit or who wish to purchase homes built before 1976, when the federal government promulgated construction and safety standards for manufactured homes. They include a 5 percent deposit, of which 2 percent must come from the buyer; no age limit for the house; no minimum credit score; no private mortgage insurance requirement; fixed interest rate; and terms of up to 30 years.

For very low-income borrowers, the program also offers up to $ 20,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance.

The houses must be located or moved in a ground floor or on the owner’s land.

Since 2002, Welcome Home Loans has provided nearly $ 77 million in real estate financing to 1,470 individuals or families, including over 550,000 to 165 buyers who required down payment assistance.


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