It’s the regulations.

In a comment on my post, “Tocqueville’s Trailers,” MingoV writes:

Small manufactured houses make more sense than mobile homes. Here’s why:
1. Almost no owner moves a mobile home, so the costs of frame/chassis, axles, wheels, hitch, lights, etc. are wasted.
2. Mobile homes have mediocre insulation, so those living in hot or cold climes pay a lot to keep temperatures livable.
3. Mobile homes are noisy. Rain and wind, traffic, sirens, loud neighbors, etc. are continual noise problems.
4. Mobile homes have low resale values compared to comparable manufactured houses.

Commenter awp has the correct response:

The frame/chassis, axles, wheels, hitch, lights, etc. are what let you avoid the building permitting process and are thus very valuable.

What this shows is the high cost of regulation. To avoid being subject to the permitting process, people buy trailers. I would bet that the vast majority of them would prefer to buy manufactured homes, for all the reasons MingoV lists. If I’m right, then, for those people, these costs that MingoV cites, minus the added cost, if any, of a comparable manufactured home, are a minimum estimate of the cost of regulation. Which means that the cost of regulation is very high.

Incidentally, the article does allude to that issue. The author. Lisa Margonelli, writes:

Like a number of trailer parks, Pismo Dunes started as a camper park in the 1970s. Some of those campers stayed in place, and concrete blocks surrounded their wheels as they became layered with porches, awnings, sunrooms, and carports. Some have been replaced with new factory-built homes that resemble townhouses–but still have wheels hidden underneath, because Pismo Dunes is still technically an RV park.