A Houston company is bringing 3,000 manufactured homes to Texas starting in Pearland


The words “luxury” and “mobile homes” don’t often go together – but that’s exactly what a Houston construction firm wants to accomplish as it embarks on launching six communities across Texas capable of fitting nearly 3,000 manufactured homes.

Live Lone Star recently broke ground on a $34 million, 420-home community at 17730 County Road 127 in Pearland. The 55-acre project will be followed by communities in the Tomball area (including a community at 20500 FM 2920 in Hockley) as well as Santa Fe, San Antonio, New Braunfels and Corpus Christi. Each community is expected to begin welcoming residents next year.

The developer — started by executives at Houston-based Jacob White Construction — aims to hit the sweet spot between luxury and affordability. Live Lone Star wants to elevate the standard approach to a mobile home park by creating gated communities with some of the same perks found in master-planned neighborhoods.

Its Pearland community, called The Landing at Pearland, will have a 6,000 square-foot clubhouse, a resort-style pool, a workout facility, event lawns, playgrounds, dog parks and sports courts.

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“When people hear manufactured homes the first thing they think of is a trailer park – that’s not glamorous,” said Chris White of Live Lone Star, a Jacob White Construction executive who started Live Lone Star last year with Jeff Mickler and Sean Mickler. “We really want to provide a great alternative for people here in Texas and we’re excited to offer these amenity-rich neighborhoods.”

But prices will be much lower than a standard home in a typical gated community. The average price for a manufactured home was $123,500 at the end of last year within the south region, which includes Texas, according to Census data. (This excludes the cost of land, which is either leased or purchased separately.) In comparison, the average home prices hit $426,061 in Houston in April, according to Houston Association of Realtors,

Live Lone Star is launching its community when homeownership is slipping out of reach for more Houstonians as prices and mortgage rates rise. Nearly half of all Houstonians can’t afford to buy a home here, according to the Houston Association of Realtors.

White said manufactured homes offer a solution.

Houston developer Live Lone Star has broken ground on The Landing at Pearland, a new upscale manufactured home community south of Houston. It’s one of six communities the developer is launching in Texas.

Courtesy Live Lone Star / Courtesy Live Lone Star

“This gives people an opportunity at a different price point to come in and still own a home,” White said. “There’s so much demand for affordable, quality homes. We’re really trying to offer a first-in-class experience.”

Like the rest of the housing industry, the manufactured housing sector boomed in the pandemic as demand soared. Manufactured home producers have a back log of about 8 to 9 months in Texas, about double what it typically was pre-pandemic, said Rob Ripperda, vice president of operations at Texas Manufactured Housing Association, an Austin-based industry trade group.

The association forecasts shipments of manufactured homes in Texas to grow by 13 to 14 percent to about 20,100 units this year.

Live Lone Star represents a niche within the manufactured home industry of companies catering to owners seeking a more luxurious lifestyle. Roberts Resorts of Scottsdale, Ariz. and Yes! Communities of Denver are established players in the luxury manufactured home space with communities throughout Texas, noted Ripperda of TMHA.

Amenities can include things like resort-style pools, mini golf, playgrounds, sports courts, dog parks and beach access and boat launches for waterfront communities, according to Roberts Resorts website.

“If you go in a Roberts Resorts parks for example, it’s pretty cool and it’s not what most people expect when they hear manufactured homes,” Ripperda said. “These are true lifestyle communities that have a lot to offer.”

At Live Lone Star’s planned communities, homeowners would purchase a new manufactured house – which can range between $80,000 to $150,000 — depending on the size and features, then enter typically a 5-year lease to rent the land where the house would be placed. Live Lone Star’s monthly leases range between $550 to $675 per month.

Unlike a standard site-built house, a manufactured home is considered movable personal property, not real property, so buyers needing financing take out what’s known as a chattel loan rather than a standard mortgage. Interest rates for chattel loans are higher, typically between 7.75 to 10.5 percent, according to Bankrate.com.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was about 5.1 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance company.

Live Lone Star’s goal is to keep the lease rates low enough that owners’ monthly payments and land rents together would not exceed the cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment in the area, said White of Live Lone Star. Median rents for two-bedroom apartments are about $1,840 in the Pearland area and $1,380 in the Tomball area, according to ApartmentList.com, an online apartment marketplace.

Live Lone Star will partner with a management company to maintain the grounds. Residents must pass background checks and adhere to community guidelines on landscaping, noise, dog breed requirements and visitor access. Only newly-built manufactured homes will be allowed in the communities and the houses must meet specific architectural requirements.

The goal, White said, is to change the “perception of factory-built housing.”

marissa.luck@chron.com, twitter.com/marissaluck7