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The initial focus of mobile housing was its ability to move easily. Units were initially marketed mainly to people whose lifestyle required flexibility. However, beginning in the 1950s, these mobile homes started to be marketed primarily as an low cost form of housing designed to be set up and left in a location for long stretches of time, or even permanently installed with a masonry base. Previously, units had been eight feet or less in width, but in 1956, the 10-foot (3.0 m) wide home was launched. This helped establish the line between mobile properties and house/travel trailers, since the more compact units could be moved simply with a vehicle, but the larger, wider units required the services of a professional transportation company. In the 1960s and '70s, the mobile condos became even longer and wider, making the mobility of the units more complicated. Today, when a factory-built mobile home is transported to a location, it is usually kept there for good. The mobility of the units has decreased substantially.
The factory-built mobile homes for sale of the past developed a unfavourable stereotype because of their lower cost and the tendency for their worth to depreciate more quickly than site-built homes. The tendency of these mobile properties for sale to swiftly depreciate in resale value made using them as security for loans far riskier than conventional home loans. Loan terms were usually restricted to less than the 30-year term typical of the general home-loan market, and interest rates were substantially higher. In other words, these mobile property loans were similar to motor vehicle loans far more than traditional home mortgages. They have been constantly linked to lower-income families, which has led to bias and zoning restrictions, which include limitations on the number and concentration of homes permitted on any given site, minimum size requirements, limitations on outside colours and finishes, and foundation mandates.
Many districts do not allow the placement of any further factory-built homes, while others have strongly limited or prohibited all single-wide models, which tend to decrease in value more rapidly than modern double-wide models. The derogatory concept of a "trailer park" is commonly older single-wide homes occupying small, rented lots and staying on wheels, even if the mobile home stays in place for years.
Modern mobile real estate, especially modular homes, belies this impression and can be identical in appearance to site-built homes. Modern mobile homes, particularly double-wides, tend to be built to much higher requirements than their predecessors. This has led to a decrease in the rate of value depreciation of many used units.
Although great advances have been made in terms of quality, mobile housing does still battle with construction problems. Quality control at manufacturing centres is often lax, and set-up issues often jeopardize even a well-made mobile home. Buyers need to be extremely cautious if they are entertaining the idea of buying any mobile real estate for sale by carefully checking it for flaws before signing the contract and overseeing the set-up process closely.