The Washington Post today ran a long article, “A billion-dollar empire made up of mobile homes” on how some of the largest private equity firms in the world, including The Blackstone Group, Apollo Global Management, TPG Capital, Brookfield Asset Management, and The Carlyle Group, are aggressively acquiring manufactured home (i.e. mobile home) communities and raising rents, threatening one of the last sectors of affordable housing in the US.
The Post article highlights a new report by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, MHAction, and the Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund, “Private Equity Giants Converge on Manufactured Homes: How Private Equity is Manufacturing Homelessness and Communities are Fighting Back.”
From the Post article:
“Yet Florence Commons, along with more than 200 other mobile home parks around the U.S., has produced hefty returns for Stockbridge Capital, a $13 billion private-equity firm, and its major investors.
Their mobile home park company has produced tens of millions for investors in recent years and saw a return on investment of more than 30 percent between late 2016 and the end of 2017, according to documents.
Those ample returns arise in part from their willingness to boost the rents of the mobile home residents. As one investors report on the company put it approvingly: The “senior management team has a demonstrated track record of increasing home rental rates.”
It has received $1.3 billion in financing through government-sponsored lender Fannie Mae, which says mobile homes are “inherently affordable.” The money helped them buy existing mobile-home parks.
As large financial firms buy more and more U.S. homes, both conventional and mobile, the question of whether such investments benefit tenants or merely exploit them is a matter of dispute.”