Financing products and programs have been, and are being, developed that may be used to affordably finance the purchase of manufactured homes across diverse situations. Although more solutions are needed, you may qualify for preferable lending programs, including conventional loans through federal sources. To learn more about these options – as well as other innovative financing being piloted in some states, check out the links below. Many of these organizations provide educational resources to help explain financing products and programs to consumers, retailers, and lenders.
Consumer Education Resources (Nonprofit Organizations, Counseling Networks, Industry)
Next Step US
Next Step US provides homebuyer resources and education focused on manufactured homes and other factory-built housing to help consumers make informed decisions. Resources include financing tools, information about energy efficiency and home quality. They promote responsible financing, ENERGY STAR®-certified manufactured homes, and homeowner education using data, a network of non-profit organizations, and consumer-friendly tools. Next Step also advocates for the development of affordable financing options for purchasing or refinancing manufactured homes.
I’M HOME Network
The I’M HOME Network, originally developed and administered by Prosperity Now, and now being transitioned to management under the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, works to remove barriers and stigmas to manufactured homes. The program promotes policy reforms and conducts research with the goal of changing the reputation of manufactured homes, improving financing options, and finding mechanisms that allow homeowners to purchase the land where their home is sited. Although no longer managing the I’M HOME Network, Prosperity Now continues to advocate for manufactured housing policy reforms and provides educational resources including their manufactured home toolkit.
The National Consumer Law Center
The National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) has developed several resources related to manufactured homes including a Manufactured Housing Resource Guide, which offers information for accessing public resources for financing manufactured homes. Another guide developed by NCLC provides information on titling manufactured homes as real property. NCLC also offers a state by state breakdown of information regarding consumer protections, public policy, and financing options for manufactured homes, characterizing the situation in each state.
The Manufactured Housing Institute
The Manufactured Housing Institute—the national trade organization representing all segments of the factory-built housing industry—provides information, tips and insights about becoming a manufactured homeowner and living in a manufactured home community through their consumer website.
Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD’s Housing Counseling Agency Network is a resource available to homebuyers needing to understand housing financing options. Participating counseling agencies, approved by HUD, can help buyers understand topics such as loan options, rental options, credit, foreclosure, and more.
HUD’s Manufactured Homes site is the main page for potential homeowners to access resources to learn about manufactured housing and its quality and affordability, financing and other resources about homeownership, choosing a site and setting up the home, and other important information. Some of the key resources available on this page are also noted below.
HUD’s Manufactured Home Consumer Resources help potential or current homeowners with general information and guidelines regarding purchasing, installation and setup, maintenance, and care of a HUD-certified manufactured home.
HUD’s Financing Manufactured Homes page describes the FHA Title I program, an option for homebuyers or current homeowners to finance the purchase or refinance of a manufactured home and/or lot. It covers loan terms, borrower and property eligibility, finding a lender, and consumer protections
Department of Agriculture (USDA)
USDA Direct Loan Program offers loans to very-low- and low-income applicants in rural areas who otherwise would not be able to obtain a loan. These loans can be long term and can be used to purchase a home, or to improve or relocate an existing home.
USDA Loan Guarantee Program helps lenders offer loans to low-income applicants in rural areas by guaranteeing 90% of the loan amount so that the lender can offer 100% loans.
USDA Rural Energy Savings Program (RESP) provides loans to rural utilities or other companies and organizations that provide loans to consumers for energy-efficiency upgrades. These loans could be coordinated through manufactured home cooperatives.
An example of a utility using RESP funds to replace manufactured housing is the Umatilla Electric Cooperative Manufactured Housing Replacement Program partnered with USDA RESP, the state of Oregon, and Bonneville Power Administration to provide loans for replacement of older manufactured homes with new efficient models. Umatilla offers primary loans while Bonneville provides efficiency rebates, and the state offers gap funding and decommissioning funds. The loans are low-interest with no down payment but are only 10-year terms.
Department of the Treasury
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are community-based organizations working to expand access for low-income communities and people to affordable financing options. The Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund is intended to stimulate economic growth by working with CDFIs to provide capital to low-income communities that otherwise couldn’t access other lending sources. The Treasury Department has committed to support the financing of affordable, efficient manufactured homes through its award programs, including the Capital Magnet Fund and CDFI program. The Capital Magnet Fund provides grants for low-income housing and community revitalization. In addition, the CDFI program provides funds for technical assistance to CDFIs and emerging CDFIs that can be used toward developing financing programs to serve purchasers and owners of manufactured homes, and for financing resident-owned communities as a mechanism for creating pathways to home and land ownership
Veterans Affairs (VA)
If you qualify for a VA-backed purchase loan, you can use the loan to buy a manufactured home or lot. To learn more about eligibility, benefits, and other key information about VA-backed loans see the VA Purchase loan site.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently recognizes efficient manufactured homes through the ENERGY STAR® Manufactured New Homes voluntary certification and labeling program. This program is designed to recognize homes that are verified to meet efficiency requirements that are at least 10% more efficient than code. With the release of the new energy standard for manufactured homes, EPA is releasing an updated version of their program, to be required for program certification by May 2023, which will be at least 10% more efficient than the new standard.
Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB)
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent agency, is conducting ongoing research on finance and consumer issues in the manufactured home market, building on a body of work including the following: the Bureau’s May 2022 Data spotlight: Older adults living in mobile homes; and their May 2021 report, Manufactured Housing Finance: New Insights from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs, or the Enterprises) that are overseen by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), an independent regulatory agency. The GSEs purchase mortgages from lenders and either hold these mortgages in their portfolios or package the loans into mortgage-backed securities (MBS) that may be sold. Lenders use the capital raised by selling mortgages to the Enterprises to engage in further lending. The Enterprises’ purchases help ensure that individuals and families that buy homes (including manufactured homes titled as real estate) and investors that purchase apartment buildings and other multifamily dwellings, including loans for resident-owned manufactured home communities, have a continuous, stable supply of mortgage money.
Fannie Mae offers two manufactured housing (MH) mortgage products for consumers: MH Advantage® and Standard MH. MH Advantage homes are those that meet the industry’s CrossMod™ specifications and are similar to site-built homes. These can be financed with traditional mortgage terms, including down payments as low as 3 percent. Standard MH is financing for homes that don’t qualify for MH Advantage but are still titled as real estate; terms are outlined in Fannie Mae’s standard MH underwriting guidelines.
State Resources and Examples
New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) provides manufactured home loans through their Manufactured Home Advantage Program. The program is offered through the State of New York Mortgage Agency State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA). SONYMA partners with a local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to provide mortgages for manufactured homes to be located on leased land. They are able to provide mortgages, including small balance loans, by working with a CDFI, by using alternative credit analysis tools, and by providing rent guarantees to the land owner to avoid needing a chattel loan.
For existing manufactured homeowners with homes located on land that they own, HCR offers grants to help with the cost of manufactured home replacements through the Mobile and Manufactured Home Replacement Program (MHRP).
Energy Trust of Oregon MHRP offers grants to existing manufactured home owners to replace aging manufactured homes with new, energy-efficient models that meet the Northwest Energy Efficient Manufactured Housing Program™ (NEEM) ENERGY STAR® with NEEM+ standards. The program also provides funds to owners or operators of manufactured home communities. The funding has also been used to replace units damaged or destroyed in wildfires.
Minnesota Housing provides several financing opportunities for manufactured home communities. Through their Manufactured Home Redevelopment Program, the state offers funds for infrastructure improvement, as well as allowing organizations to purchase communities. These organizations could include private investors or even cooperatives of residents establishing a resident-owned community. Minnesota Housing also provides loans to cover relocation of manufactured homes in communities that close, and even provide long-term first mortgage financing for manufactured home communities.
The New Hampshire Community Loan Fund provides Welcome Home Loans to purchasers of manufactured homes. These loans are long-term mortgages and are available to purchasers who own land where the home will be located as well as purchasers who will locate the home in a resident-owned community. The fund also offers favorable interest rates in participating resident-owned communities, as well as options for lending outside of typical credit score limits.
New Hampshire also allows manufactured homes to be titled as real property if they are connected to utilities, creating the possibility of conventional mortgage financing for these homes.
The Washington State Finance Commission has established a program, working with ROC Northwest and ROC USA, to provide financing to homeowners in manufactured home communities for the purchase of their land as a group and the establishment of a resident-owned community cooperative. As a group, owners can qualify for better lending terms and more affordable financing. The Washington program also offers funding for infrastructure improvements in the communities.
The Colorado Impact Development Fund has worked in specific communities in partnership with ROC USA to help manufactured homeowners purchase the communities in which their homes are sited. In 2022, the Colorado legislature enacted a $35 million fund, known as the Mobile Home Park Resident Empowerment Loan and Grant Program Fund, which will provide financing and technical assistance resources for the purchase and conversion of manufactured home parks to resident-owned communities by eligible homeowners.