I’m sure you have heard this one on the news before: another trailer park hit by a tornado. All the residents are shown standing around in disbelief that all their trailers are demolished, while neighbor’s houses outside the trailer park appear untouched. Maybe it is the atmospheric pressure from all the metal exteriors that drew the tornado to strike the trailer park and not the houses.
And what about Oklahoma? Why is it that some of these people have gone through three tornadoes and had three trailers flattened in them, and they seem at a loss as to why. Could it be that it’s one of those common sense issues-Don’t buy a trailer and put it smack dab in the middle of tornado alley. Duh……
There are individuals who believe that trailer parks attract tornado activity. There are even surveys done online trying to show a trailer purchase density to tornado density ratio. They come out showing Florida, with the most tornadoes, is number three on the list of trailer purchases. Indiana, which is third on tornado activity is first in trailer purchases.
The thing this doesn’t take into consideration is that trailer affordability leads to more trailers in a certain area, and if it happens to be in a tornado prone area, then of course, more are going to get flattened, and this includes Oklahoma or Kansas.
In Florida, the housing market for a stick built, regular home has been so high priced that most middle income people look at mobile or manufactured housing as an affordable alternative for housing. The price of mobile or manufactured housing is often much less in comparison to regular houses in some areas, such as Florida. On the other hand, there are parts of the country where a mobile home or prefab manufactured home runs about the same as a comparable conventional house, such as in Missouri.
In the Bay area, many people turn to mobile homes or manufactured housing because of the outrageous housing prices, it is a very affordable way to live in a high priced market where conventional housing is out of reach. The same holds true for Florida. The fact is that mobile homes or manufactured housing may be the only way for some individuals to purchase a home, whether it is in a tornado prone or earthquake prone area or not.
There is no evidence that tornadoes are attracted to trailer parks, but because of their construction and the fact that many are not anchored to the ground on a normal foundation like a basement, makes them susceptible to more damage than surrounding neighborhoods of conventional, stick-built housing. The other thing is that mobile home sales are often the highest in the more poverty stricken states. These are also the states that tend to have more natural disasters, whether they are in the south, or in an earthquake or tornado zone.
The fact is that mobile homes or manufactured housing can be an affordable way of putting a roof over your head, and while it should not be considered as an investment, as many depreciate versus appreciate, it is what part of the country you decide to put it in that determines whether your chances are higher of tornado damage.