Tara Reardon

"A tale of two parks" shows financial benefit of resident ownership

By Tara Reardon

Over time, homeowners in resident-owned communities enjoy serious financial benefits, as well as secure housing.

In New Hampshire, we know that resident-ownership of manufactured-home communities is, for numerous reasons, the smart choice. With 117 resident-owned communities (ROCs) representing a quarter of the state’s manufactured-home communities, it’s also a growing reality.

The stark contrast of resident ownership vs. investor ownership is the subject of a recent article, A tale of two parks: The economic value of a resident-owned park, in the Daily Democrat of Woodland. CA.

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A home in Fisherville 107 Cooperative in Concord, N.H.

Writer David J. Thompson compares 20 years of rent experience of the Leisureville Mobile Home Park in Woodland, which was bought by its residents in 1995; and Rancho Yolo in Davis, an investor-owned community.

Located less than 10 miles apart, the communities are large by N.H. standards−150 and 262 spaces, respectively−and home to residents age 55 and over. Residents of both communities have low- to extremely-low incomes, and a number of them live on Social Security retirement or disability income. No one in either community receives Section 8 assistance.  

Despite the two parks’ similarities, Thompson found one jolting difference. Homeowners at investor-owned Rancho Yolo pay an average $2,808 per year more to rent their house lots than do those at resident-owned Leisureville. For people with low and/or fixed incomes, $2,808 can be life-changing.

In fact, according to Thompson, Leisureville’s lot rents are the lowest of any manufactured-home park in the area. He predicts the economic value of living there will become even more advantageous as time passes.

Residents in cooperatively-owned and -managed communities benefit in many ways. They know that as long as they pay their lot rent and follow the community rules (which they democratically control as members of the cooperative), they won’t be displaced. 

But the pocketbook is generally the most important decision-making factor for most of us, and the residents of Leisureville have a few more dollars in their pocketbooks, thanks to resident ownership.

Tara Reardon is Director of ROC-NH.

ROC-NH™ is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider.
ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA, LLC.