Manufactured Home Parks (MHPs) 101

Brief History

In today’s society, there is often a stigma surrounding mobile home communities, but believe it or not, the history of mobile homes actually began as an upscale concept in the 1910’s and 1920’s. Cities started building them as free spaces for the wealthy to park their trailers, hence the name, trailer parks. These trailer parks were associated with the wealthy, affluent and famous celebrities who could afford automobiles and to go on road trips but were faced with the problem of finding comfortable places to sleep. Rather than sleeping in uncomfortable tents or in their cars, the wealthy paid craftsmen to build trailers, which were decorated with mahogany interiors and crystal chandeliers and adorned with logos and names just like the wealthy do with yachts today.

If we were to time travel back to the 1950’s, you’d find that mobile home park tenants typically had a higher income and educational status than those who did not! I find this history fascinating; you can learn more here:

Fast-forward: A Century Later

Many of us now would not envision mobile home communities similar to the ones illustrated above.

While these communities were historically a lifestyle choice, we often hear about them in the context of the affordable housing crisis today.

The current demand for affordable housing in the U.S. is growing exponentially due to combined factors of rising home prices and rents while income for the lowest 40% of earners has remained essentially flat.  

Here are some statistics

  • More than 50% of all jobs created since 2007 pay $10/hr. or less, creating an impossible gap in earnings vs. housing costs
    • Median single family home costs approximately $315,000.
    • Average apartment rent is roughly $784 per month.
    • Only manufactured homes provide housing at the affordable level of $500-800 per month.
  • Record numbers of Americans are retiring (roughly 10,000 Baby Boomers per day); 45% of retirees have less than $10,000 in retirement savings
  • More than half of manufactured home park residents have an annual income of less than $30,000, placing them in the bottom quartile of U.S. earners
  • Income growth for the bottom quartile has essentially been flat (up only 5%) since 1980; meanwhile rents have risen over 30% during the same period

Why have MHPs garnered the attention of investors?

The affordable housing shortage in the U.S., combined with the highly fragmented state of the manufactured housing community industry presents a unique opportunity to both provide affordable, quality housing in great communities and deliver strong, consistent cash flow to investors. The opportunity is a result of three core conditions, all of which are predicted to persist into the foreseeable future:

  • Demographic trends: Average home prices and rents have consistently risen at dramatic pace since 1980, while income for the lowest 40% of earners in the U.S. has remained essentially flat, creating the current affordable housing shortage. Additionally, an estimated 3.6M baby boomers are retiring annually with roughly half of them with less than $10,000 in savings.
  • MHP Economics: Since most manufactured homes are owned by tenants while the land is rented, MHPs tend to be a low-cost businesses. Revenue is steady and can be escalated consistently due to the fact that moving a manufactured home to a different park is cost prohibitive for the vast majority of tenants.
  • Industry Fragmentation: With the 100 largest MHC owners controlling only 44% of the market, most of the players in the industry are mom-and-pop operators that tend to either run inefficient parks or neglect them entirely.

Here are 6 reasons you should consider MHPs in your portfolio

 Since 1998, MHPs have had ZERO quarters of negative net operating income growth.

  1. Supply < demand
  2. Demand for affordable housing is growing exponentially in the U.S.
  3. Stability of occupancy
  4. Increased value
  5. Simplicity of MHP model
  6. High rates of return

Capital Preservation: MHP’s and Self Storage are two of the most recession resistant sectors of commercial real estate. They have consistently outperformed other asset classes in same store NOI (net operating income) growth since 2000. Most importantly, they have significantly outperformed during periods of recession.

Diversify your portfolio with MHP syndication investments

As I mentioned above, the majority of MHPs today are still run by “mom and pop” owners or small, private regional operators. As investors, you can take advantage of the recession-resilient nature of this asset class by participating in private syndications when sponsors identify value-add opportunities through management inefficiencies. You will be able to earn passive, predictable cash flow and enjoy the tax advantages that real estate offers. Invest with experienced and trusted sponsors in this asset class who have proven track records of success.


Cherry Chen is an internal medicine physician and founder of The Real Estate Physician, a resource focused on empowering busy professionals who are interested in investing for passive income through commercial real estate syndications. Cherry is the author of “The Physician’s Definitive Guide to Real Estate Syndications” and has been interviewed on multiple podcasts. She is an experienced passive real estate investor who vets sponsors and their deals and hopes she can bring value to fellow investors through the resources on her website.

Nothing on this website should be considered financial advice. Investing involves risks which you assume. It is your duty to do your own due diligence. Read all documents and agreements before signing or investing in anything. It is your duty to consult with your own legal, financial and tax advisors regarding any investment.

Chris Franckhauser

Vice President of Strategy & Growth, Advisory Partner

Chris Franckhauser, Vice President of Strategy & Growth, Advisory Partner for Left Field Investors, has been involved in real estate since 2008. He started with one single-family fix and flip, and he was hooked. He then scaled, completing five more over a brief period. While he enjoyed the journey and the financial tailwinds that came with each completed project, being an active investor with a W2 at the time, became too much to manage with a young and growing family. Seeing this was not easily scalable or sustainable long term, he searched for alternative ideas on where to invest. He explored other passive income streams but kept coming back to his two passions; real estate and time with his family. He discovered syndications after reconnecting with a former colleague and LFI Founder. He joined Left Field Investors in 2023 and has quickly immersed himself into the community and as a key member of our team.  

Chris earned a B.S. from The Ohio State University. After years in healthcare technology and medical devices, from startups to Fortune 15 companies, Chris shifted his efforts to consulting and owning a small apparel business when he is not working with LFI (Left Field Investors) or on his personal passive investments. A few years ago, Chris and his family left the cold life in Ohio for lake life in the Carolinas. Chris lives in Tega Cay, South Carolina with his wife and two kids. In his free time, he enjoys exploring all the things the Carolinas offer, from the beaches to the mountains and everywhere in between, volunteering at the school, coaching his kids’ sports teams and cheering on the Buckeyes from afar.  

Chris knows investing is a team sport. Being a strategic thinker and analytical by nature, the ability to collaborate with like-minded individuals in the Left Field Community and other communities is invaluable.  

Jim Pfeifer

President, Chief Executive Officer, Founder

Jim Pfeifer is one of the founders of Left Field Investors and the host of the Passive Investing from Left Field podcast. Left Field Investors is a group dedicated to educating and assisting like-minded investors negotiate the nuances of the passive investing landscape and world of syndications. Jim is a former financial advisor who became frustrated with the one-path-fits-all approach of the standard financial services industry. Jim now concentrates on investing in real assets that produce cash flow and is committed to sharing his knowledge with others who are interested in learning a different way to grow wealth.

Jim not only advises and helps people get started in passive real estate syndications, he also invests alongside them in small groups to allow for diversification among multiple investments and syndication sponsors. Jim believes the most important factor in a successful syndication is finding a sponsor that he knows, likes and trusts.

He has invested in over 100 passive syndications including apartments, mobile homes, self-storage, private lending and notes, ATM’s, commercial and industrial triple net leases, assisted living facilities and international coffee farms and cacao producers. Jim is constantly looking for new investment ideas that match his philosophy of real assets producing cash flow as well as looking for new sponsors with whom he can build quality, long-term relationships. Jim earned a degree in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Education from The Ohio State University. He has worked as a reinsurance underwriter, high school finance teacher, financial advisor and now works exclusively as a full-time passive investor. Jim lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, three kids and two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, play Ultimate frisbee and cheer on the Buckeyes.

Jim earned a degree in Finance & Marketing from the University of Oregon and a Master’s in Business Education from The Ohio State University. He has worked as a reinsurance underwriter, high school finance teacher, financial advisor and now works exclusively as a full-time passive investor. Jim lives in Dublin, Ohio with his wife, three kids and two dogs. In his free time, he loves to ski, play Ultimate frisbee and cheer on the Buckeyes.

Chad Ackerman

Chief Operating Officer, Founder

Chad is the Founder & Chief Operating Officer of Left Field Investors and the host of the LFI Spotlight podcast. Chad was in banking most of his career with a focus on data analytics, but in March of 2023 he left his W2 to become LFI’s second full time employee.

Chad always had a passion for real estate, so his analytics skills translated well into the deal analyzer side of the business. Through his training, education and networking Chad was able to align his passive investing to compliment his involvement with LFI while allowing him to grow his wealth and take steps towards financial freedom. He has appreciated the help he’s received from others along his journey which is why he is excited to host the LFI Spotlight podcast and share the experience of other investors and industry experts to assist those that are looking for education for their own journey.

Chad has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a Minor in Real Estate from the University of Cincinnati. He is working to educate his two teenagers in the passive investing world. In his spare time he likes to golf, kayak, and check out the local brewery scene.

Ryan Steig

Chief Financial Officer, Founder

Ryan Stieg started down the path of passive investing like many of us did, after he picked up a little purple book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad. The problem was that he did that in college and didn’t take action to start investing passively until many years later when that itch to invest passively crept back up.

Ryan became an accidental landlord after moving from Phoenix back to Montana in 2007, a rental he kept until 2016 when he started investing more intentionally. Since 2016, Ryan has focused (or should we say lack thereof) on all different kinds of investing, always returning to real estate and business as his mainstay. Ryan has a small portfolio of one-to-three-unit rentals across four different markets in the US. He has also invested in over fifty real estate syndication investments individually or with an investment group or tribe. Working to diversify in multiple asset classes, Ryan invests in multi-family, note funds, NNN industrial, retail, office, self-storage, online businesses, start-ups, and several other asset classes that further cement his self-diagnosis of “shiny object syndrome”.

However, with all of those reaches over the years, Ryan still believes in the long-term success and tenets of passive, cash-flow-focused investing with proven syndicators and shared knowledge in investing.

When he’s not working with LFI or on his personal passive investments, he recently opened a new Club Pilates franchise studio after an insurance career. Outside of that, he can be found with his wife watching whatever sport one of their two boys is involved in during that particular season.

Steve Suh

Chief Content Officer, Founder

Steve Suh, one of the founders of Left Field Investors and its Chief Content Officer, has been involved with real estate and alternative assets since 2005. Like many, he saw his net worth plummet during the two major stock market crashes in the early 2000s. Since then, he vowed to find other ways to invest his money. Reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad gave Steve the impetus to learn about real estate investing. He first became a landlord after purchasing his office condo. He then invested passively as a limited partner in oil and gas drilling syndications but quickly learned the importance of scrutinizing sponsors when he stopped getting returns after only a few months. Steve came back to real estate by buying a few small residential rentals. Seeing that this was not easily scalable, he searched for alternative ideas. After listening to hundreds of podcasts and attending numerous real estate investing meetings, he determined that passively investing in real estate syndications was the best avenue to get great, risk-adjusted returns. He has invested in dozens of syndications involving apartment buildings, self-storage facilities, resort properties, ATMs, Bitcoin mining funds, car washes, a coffee farm, and even a Broadway show.

When Steve is not vetting commercial real estate syndications in the evenings, he is stomping out eye diseases and improving vision during the day as an ophthalmologist. He enjoys playing in his tennis and pickleball leagues and rooting for his Buckeyes and Steelers football teams. In the past several years, he took up running and has completed three full marathons, including the New York City Marathon. He is always on a quest to find great pizza, BBQ brisket, and bourbon. He enjoys traveling with his wife and their three adult kids. They usually go on a medical mission trip once a year to southern Mexico to provide eye surgeries and glasses to the residents. Steve has enjoyed being a part of Left Field Investors to help others learn about the merits of passive, real asset investments.

Sean Donnelly

Chief Culture Officer, Founder

Sean holds a W2 job in the finance sector and began his real estate investing journey shortly after earning his MBA. Unfortunately, it could not have begun at a worse time … anyone remember 2007 … but even the recession provided worthy lessons. Sean stayed in the game continuing to find his place, progressing from flipping to owning single and multi-family rentals to now funding opportunities through syndications. While Sean is still heavily invested in the equities market and holds a small portfolio of rentals, he strongly believes passive investing is the best way to offset the cyclical nature of traditional investment vehicles as well as avoid the headaches of direct property ownership. Through consistent cash flow, long term yield and available tax benefits, the diversification offered with passive investing brings a welcomed balance to an otherwise turbulent investing scheme. What Sean likes most about the syndication space is that the investment opportunities are not “one size fits all” and the community of investors genuinely want to help.

He earned a B.S. in Finance from Iowa State University in 1995 and a MBA from Otterbein University in 2007. Sean has lived in eight states but has called Ohio home for the last 20+.  When not attending his children’s various school/sporting events, Sean can be found running, golfing, shooting or fly-fishing.

Patrick Wills

Chief Information Officer, Advisory Partner

An active real estate investor since 2017, Patrick Wills’ investing journey began like many others – after reading the “purple book” by Robert Kiyosaki. Patrick started with single family rentals, and while they performed well, he quickly realized their inability to scale efficiently while remaining passive. He discovered syndications via podcasts and local meetups and never looked back. He joined Left Field Investors in 2022 as a member and has quickly become an integral part of the team as Vice President of Technology.

An I.T. Systems Engineer by trade, he experienced the limitations of traditional Wall Street investing firsthand in his career and knew there had to be a better way to truly have financial freedom.

Unfortunately, that better way is inaccessible to those who need it most. His mission is to make alternative investments accessible to everyone who seeks to take control of their financial future and to pursue their passions in life.

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