In rural Florida, a new development could offer one solution to the nation's affordable housing crisis: a built-to-rent community populated with manufactured homes.
ERC Communities, led by Jerry Ellenburg, is about to begin horizontal construction on a 60-unit manufactured housing project in Zephryhills, the small city 30 miles northeast of Tampa best known for its eponymous bottled water. Ellenburg's model is a twist on traditional manufactured housing developments; typically, occupants of those developments own their homes but pay rent to the landlord on a ground lease. (And don't call it a trailer park; the terms "trailer" and "mobile home" haven't been used to describe manufactured housing since the mid-1970s, when federal standards for construction of the homes were established.)
"These people are going to be paying in the mid-$1,700s [per month] for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home that's just short of 1,400 square feet," Ellenburg told The Business Journals. "Compare that to a home or garden-style apartment — that would be way into the $2,000s."