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Strategic Relocation Awaits: Mobile homes hit sales bump

Falling home prices have hit the mobile home marketplace, just as they have the traditional home market in the past five years. Unlike the traditional housing market, however, foreclosures are not the main culprit. Retiring seniors, the most likely buyers of mobile homes, are not entering the market like they used to because they are having difficulty selling their houses. "The big problem that is hurting mobile homes sales is that people can't get the money for their house like they used to," said Tom Roberts, a real estate agent with the Century 21 Realty Mission Bishop office in Fremont. On top of this, some of the adult children who have inherited a mobile home from their parents get tired of making monthly payments to rent space in a park. So, they end up selling at a discounted price. In 2010, the median sales price paid for an existing mobile home in Alameda County was $40,000, down 53 percent from the $85,000 median paid in 2006, the year before the real estate meltdown began. In Contra Costa County, the median last year was $34,000, a 51.4 percent drop from the $70,000 median paid in 2006. Sales volume also fell, but not as much. Alameda County saw 184 mobile homes closing escrow last year, a 23 percent drop from the 239 sold 2006. Contra Costa County had 80 sold last year, or a 15.8 percent decline from the 95 sold in 2006. The result is a lot of opportunities for buyers who want an affordable place of their own, but don't want to live in a house or condominium. Count James Gamble in that group. "It was a great deal," said Gamble...

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