REIT Rankings: Manufactured Housing
(Hoya Capital Real Estate, Co-produced with Brad Thomas)
Manufactured Housing REIT Overview
Manufactured Housing REITs (“MH REITs”) have proven to be immune from coronavirus-related headwinds that have slammed much of the real estate sector, collecting nearly 100% of rents, while also boosting dividends this year. Within the Hoya Capital Manufactured Housing REIT Index, we track the three MH REITs, which account for roughly $25 billion in market value: Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), Sun Communities (SUI), and UMH Properties (UMH). In addition to MH communities, these REITs also manage transient, seasonal, and membership-based RV parks and boat marina, which account for roughly 30-40% of the REITs’ portfolio.
While not included in the REIT indexes, it should be noted that Cavco Industries (CVCO) and Skyline Champion Corp. (SKY) are the largest publicly traded builders of manufactured homes, while Winnebago Industries (WGO), Thor Industries (THO), and Camping World Holdings (CWH) are all closely linked to the performance of the RV sector. MH units, colloquially known as “mobile homes”, are typically the most affordable non-subsidized housing option in most markets. MH REITs own roughly 5% of the five million manufactured housing sites in the United States. MH REITs comprise 2% of the “Core” REIT ETFs and also represent 4% of the Hoya Capital US Housing Index, the benchmark that tracks the GDP-weighted performance of the US housing industry.
Roughly one in twelve Americans live in a factory-built manufactured home, and shipments of these units represent roughly 10% of housing starts in a typical year. The quality and appearance of MH sites can vary significantly from communities that are indistinguishable from a typical single-family, master-planned community to the stereotypical “trailer parks”. These REITs generally own communities in the higher tiers of the quality spectrum and are more “retiree-oriented” than the