One of a handful of traditional mobile homes remaining in the Hilltop Homes neighborhood off Maple Street in Steamboat Springs, this property, including the lot, is offered for sale at $275,000. Hilltop Homes is unusual in that the homeowners in the original mobile home park were able to buy the real estate in 2000 and subsequently gained city approval to change the plat to allow individual lots.

One of a handful of traditional mobile homes remaining in the Hilltop Homes neighborhood off Maple Street in Steamboat Springs, this property, including the lot, is offered for sale at $275,000. Hilltop Homes is unusual in that the homeowners in the original mobile home park were able to buy the real estate in 2000 and subsequently gained city approval to change the plat to allow individual lots. Photo by Tom Ross. |

Mobile homes have long offered workforce housing

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— Mobile home parks, representing the old-school solution to providing workforce housing, haven’t won much attention in the current community discussion on how to close the gap between housing supply and demand in Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

Yet, there are an estimated 300-plus households currently occupying mobile home parks in Steamboat.

And one can’t say local government and the Yampa Valley Housing Authority are indifferent to trailer parks. With city and county support, the authority owns and operates the Fish Creek mobile home park comprising 68 households.

And there are still opportunities in Routt County to acquire mobile homes at reasonable prices.

Mobile home history

• The Sleepy Bear mobile home park, with 54 lots, sold for $2.6 million in June 2011

• Dream Island mobile home park, with more than 80 homes, went under a sale contract to prospective developers in May 2008, but the transaction did not close.

• West Acres mobile home park is more than 30 years old, and home to more than 90 families

• In September 2007, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, with the help of the city of Steamboat Springs, purchased Fish Creek mobile home park for $3.2 million in order to secure the future of the 68 homes in that neighborhood.

• In June 2000, 17 homeowners in a mobile home park on Maple Street, now known as Hilltop Homes, purchased their lots from the park owner with help from the old Regional Affordable Living Foundation and the willingness of several local banks to lend money for the purchase.

• Westland mobile home park, with 39 homes on the east end of Yampa Street in Steamboat Springs, was vacated in September 2006 to make way for a development that has yet to come to fruition.

Pete Stimmel of rural Steamboat is asking $215,000 for four mobile homes and the land beneath them in the town of Hayden. A former building contractor, Stimmel said he has managed the property for income.

The homes are part of the old Rainbow mobile home park, which is no longer intact, he said. Over the years, Stimmel's property has been home to permanent residents and also to construction workers spending a season on a project like upgrades to the Hayden Station power plant.

“I bought it 15 years ago as a business investment, where it generates income (about $27,000 annually) through rentals,” Stimmel said.

Bought for cash flow

He estimates a new owner could raise the monthly rents by as much as $100 and still be under the market. Or, a purchaser could almost live in one of the homes for free after collecting rent.

The homes are about six blocks from the Kum and Go convenience store in Hayden where the Steamboat Springs Transit regional bus stops on its way between Craig and Steamboat.

The four two-bedroom trailers sit on three platted town lots, but given the pricing of modern building lots in the newer Dry Creek Village and Lake Village subdivisions nearby, Stimmel speculates his property couldn’t compete in that market segment. He has no plans to remove the mobile homes.

The homes are served by municipal water and sewer in Hayden, and with his building skills, Stimmel said he has always looked for opportunities to upgrade them. For example, when he has remodeled a home for a client, he has salvaged the kitchen cabinets to upgrade one of his mobile homes.

Unique trailer for sale in Steamboat

Realtor Christian Talli of Re/Max Partners in Steamboat has a rare mobile home listing in the Hilltop Homes neighborhood that includes ownership of the lot. The asking price is $275,000.

Hilltop Homes is a neighborhood where many residents have taken the option to replace original mobile homes with stick-built or modular homes on the lots that were re-platted after the neighborhood was able to purchase the land from the mobile home park. Talli, who formerly lived in the neighborhood, said when you drive through Hilltop you see a wide variety of small footprint homes, from custom timber-frame homes to modest manufactured homes.

The mobile home he is showing has a new rubber roof membrane, but he said the rest of the home needs work. Still, it offers buyers the opportunity to lock up a lot close to schools in Old Town while they save money toward a future permanent home on the site.

A local bank is willing to lend on the purchase, he added.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

Comments

Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 6 days ago

What an odd article writing about small mobile home parks that are for sale which includes the claims that lot rent could be increased to make them less affordable.

I was expecting the article to describe the challenges of getting a new mobile home park approved. Not the opportunities for investors to increase rents on current affordable housing.

It seems obvious that housing is going to be tight this summer like never before. Just look at craigslist where a SB one bedroom are typically about $1,000 and two bedrooms are above $1,500. And there is extremely little available.

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Matthew Kuckkahn 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Lot rents are as much as a mortgage on a home, $400-600/mo. is common.

MH parks typically scalp people who have no credit. There is no consumer protection for loans on mobile homes, 15% interest rate on a 0.5% base rate is common. Though in Routt county I have not seen those abuses, they are common in larger markets.

Here, I see lots of cash deals and seller financing. There is no manufactured home maker in close proximity so many of the manufactured homes that transfer here are older, without building codes, unable to withstand snow loads, and within the last couple years I have personally seen at least 3 mobile homes roof structures fail.

No one wants to buy a MH park, because they are a nightmare to manage that requires professional shake-down artists, but it is for that reason they are "more profitable," they are a riskier investment.

They fill a need, but they are an imperfect solution to affordable housing, particularly in this area where we don't even have a manufacturer (stock is aging, and mobile homes don't age well).

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Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Matthew,

I am going to make a contrasting argument. Tell me what you think.

Though Town of Avon has mobile home parks that from I70 look like they are in better condition. Don't see any old crappy roofs and so on. The difference in the cost to haul a mobile home is not that great between here and Avon.

I think what has really been going on is that Avon has had higher rents for a while. That they can get enough extra rent from a better trailer that it is worthwhile to get rid of old trailers and put in newer trailers. In contrast, we have had years of comparatively lower rents in which old junky mobile homes rent just fine and a newer better mobile home rents for just slightly more.

I don't think that a MH park requires being a shake down artist because monthly rent still has to be competitive regardless of whether structured as rent or a purchase of the mobile home.

Looks to me that these mobile home parks are priced trying to take advantage of current rents, but to the buyer that is going to mean also investing in new mobile homes and then hoping there isn't a recession.

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Scott Ford 2 weeks, 5 days ago

To add some context to the discussion, in Routt County about 7% of its population are living in mobile homes.

In some of our peer counties also facing housing challenges the percentage of population living in mobile homes is as follows: Eagle County; 13.3%; Gunnison; about 6%; Pitkin about 6%; Summit County it is about 2%;

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Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 5 days ago

The variations in mobile home housing in different counties suggest it is more related to what properties got permissions to be mobile home parks some time in the past and how many of those were developed into something else along the way. The numbers don't suggest that any county is using mobile homes as an affordable housing strategy.

A major problem facing affordable housing is that along the way, most governments have passing zoning to discourage affordable housing. That there was a general thought that inexpensive housing enables low life petty criminals and thus prohibiting dormitory housing, apts under 500 sq ft and mobile homes would then eliminate petty criminals. That governments would then provide higher quality government housing projects on the theory that better would make people happier and end alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. Of that went badly wrong and many government housing projects ended up housing gangs and so on.

What government got so wrong is that there will be low lifes, addicts and petty criminals regardless that seek minimal cost housing. Meanwhile, there are hard working low income people that need low cost housing that government has essentially banned creating additional units. .

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rhys jones 2 weeks, 5 days ago

As soon as I hone my skills to a level where I can find a real job, I'm moving to San Diego, right near the beach -- it's cheaper. [They don't trust white guys around dishwashers down there, precluding that pursuit. Talk about reverse discrimination.] Done the trailer route. Not the stablest, in my experience.

San Diego, even if that gig works out. It's here, keystrokes away, but the housing (and beaches) are there.

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Scott Wedel 2 weeks, 5 days ago

San Diego near the beach is cheaper than what? Carmel by the Sea? Craigslist San Diego shows 1 bedroom apts for about $1,400 a month and that isn't near the beach.

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rhys jones 2 weeks, 4 days ago

I couldn't afford my own apartment in either place. I was referring to roommate situations, which are both more affordable, and more numerous, than in this fair city. And they aren't in trailer parks. I've lived in Dream Island eight times, to date. And that's not even an option. Enough is enough.

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