Over the last decade, we have seen the availability of affordable housing drastically decline. This has been the aftermath of the financial crises and has more recently been exacerbated by COVID-19. What this has left is a situation where many millennials are renting into their late 30s and not able to get on the property ladder at the same age their parents were able to. An entrepreneur who is working on an innovative solution including well-designed mobile homes is Franco Perez, founder of Franco Mobile Homes.
Franco originally grew up in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. when he was 11 years old. When he arrived the contrast was fairly stark as he had seen people in the Philippines who had no money and were so happy but saw many people in the U.S. who had wealth and were not where his family lived in San Jose, California. His Dad was the main income earner in the house but after the financial crisis in 2009, he left the family and suddenly Franco and his family were left with nothing. This led to them being moved from house to house often struggling to make ends meet. After a while, Franco realized he had to drop out of school and become the primary breadwinner but ultimately felt there was something flawed in the housing market. This led to him getting into real estate. When in real estate he realized the structure of the industry meant most agents, in the area he worked in, were trying to sell the highest value houses possible which left a gap for affordable housing then by chance he stumbled across mobile homes…
Whilst doing research on mobile homes Franco realized that this could be a solution to plug the gap between people who were paying $3,000 a month rent in Silicon Valley and those who could afford houses worth $1m or more. He started looking into it and found out there were derelict mobile houses in central locations he could make up so he initially did that, turning them into what he calls ‘sexy’ mobile homes to dispel the negative connotations that come with a mobile home. The houses would go for roughly $250-350k and would look just as good as “traditional” homes. As he continued to share the concept people bought these homes and used them as a stepping stone to get on the property ladder. Over time he realized rather than just renovating derelict homes he could also create brand new mobile homes. They started working on these at a price point of $300-$400k and it resonated with the community.
As Franco developed more mobile homes he realized the need for this in urban cities was high and thus he brought on a team of young dynamic people who have faced the same issue first hand to help him streamline the processes so they can roll this out across America. They intend to renovate old mobile homes, build their ‘sexy’ homes and also build projects where you get the same feeling of community you would get living in an apartment but also have your own door to walk into and your own outdoor space.
A study done with a CPA shows that getting a mobile home vs. paying $3,000 rent per month in places like Silicon Valley would have saved you $95,000 over 5 years due to price appreciation of the mobile homes. What’s extremely important to Franco is that people realize in spite of their career their wealth is tied to where they live so getting on the property ladder as soon as possible makes sense and his company is providing an innovative way to do that.