Real Property Supremacy: Manufactured Housing and the Limits of Inclusion through Finance

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2 Scopus citations


Manufactured housing (MH) communities have emerged as a high-profile and lucrative asset class. Despite this, it is costly or impossible to get loans to buy homes in most mobile home parks. This article explores this ostensible contradiction—that whereas MH parks are desirable and liquid assets, the individual homes that compose them are not. We explore the implications of this contradiction for housing justice as well as financial and environmental vulnerability. We argue that the marginality of MH in U.S. housing markets is rooted in the privileging of real property above personal property. We describe the origins and impacts of this “real property supremacy” in two parts. In the first, we outline the macro-historical context of real property supremacy using a variety of sources, including interviews with federal officials and industry experts as well as document analysis. In the second, we connect this macro context to its micro consequences, drawing on interviews with MH residents, nonprofit and social-service practitioners, and park managers and owners in Tucson, Arizona. We conclude that state-supported property hierarchies create conditions where constrained housing options, semiformal financial practices, and unique tenure forms combine to (re)produce unique and intersecting forms of vulnerability in MH communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1900-1917
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of the American Association of Geographers
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2023


  • financial geography
  • home lending
  • housing
  • manufactured housing
  • property

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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