Inspire Communities bets on the Houston mobile home market

(iStock, inspiring communities)

Inspire Communities, a Phoenix-based prefab home community developer, has big plans for the Houston area.

Inspire just unveiled a completed renovation of a mobile home community in Beach City, reports the Houston Business Journal. Oceanway occupies 17 acres along Tri City Beach Road on the North Shore of Trinity Bay.

The company bought Oceanway two years ago, and since then the company has replaced many older homes, some dating back to the 1980s. So far, the company has paved the streets and added 30 new houses, white picket fences, lampposts and tall palm trees, as well as a park and a 650-foot fishing pier. Oceanway’s waterfront homes start at $140,000 and new “smart cottages” with bayside decks start at around $200,000. The average manufactured home in the South Census Area, which includes Houston, sold for $123,500 in December 2021, according to the Manufactured Housing Survey.

Oceanway at 7030 FM 2354 Beach City, TX (Inspire Communities)

Oceanway at 7030 FM 2354 Beach City, TX (Inspire Communities)

Inspire’s latest project is Rockrose Ranch, a community of manufactured homes in Willis, a small town about an hour north of Houston. which will include a closed section for active adults. The company purchased the 170-acre land at Interstate 45 and Calvary Road last year and has already built roads and utilities for the development. According to the company, a few homes have already been delivered and future plans for the community include swimming pools, pickleball courts, lakes and a dog park. While Inspire hasn’t determined home prices in Rockrose, it expects its first residents to start moving in by the fall.

Oceanway at 7030 FM 2354 Beach City, TX (Inspire Communities)

Oceanway at 7030 FM 2354 Beach City, TX (Inspire Communities)

As the average price of a single-family home in the Houston area nears half a million — hitting an all-time high of $440,670 in May — demand for affordable alternatives has skyrocketed. Inspire isn’t the only company offering “luxury” mobile homes in South Texas. Through May, shipments of manufactured homes in Texas were up 17.2% over the same period last year, according to the Texas Manufactured Housing Association.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Live Lone Star recently paved the way for a $34 million, 420-unit community at 17730 County Road 127 in Pearland. The company is also planning “luxury” manufactured home communities in San Antonio, New Braunfels and Corpus Christi.

However, manufactured homes may not be the ideal affordable alternative as they are not eligible for traditional mortgages. Instead, a mobile home owner receives a chattel mortgage, which typically has a higher interest rate and a shorter term.

[HBJ] — Maddy Sperling