FRED has just added data from the U.S. Census Bureau for an additional type of real estate: manufactured homes. This market is separate from and smaller than the more popular and widely watched single-family homes market, but the price data for manufactured homes have several interesting characteristics.
First, manufactured homes are more uniform than other homes. For example, single-family homes come in a variety of sizes, they have tended to become larger over time, and the size composition of single-family home sales may vary from one period to another. Manufactured homes come in two standard sizes, single and double, and separate statistics are collected for each.
Second, the price of manufactured homes includes only the house—that is, the land is not part of it. This should make the price more informative. However, the market for manufactured homes is thinner, which makes measurements less precise and thus more volatile.
The graph above compares the prices of manufactured homes (single and double) with two popular single-family home price indexes. It’s striking that their trends are quite similar, despite the differences noted above. It’s a coincidence, though, that the levels of the single-family home price indexes line up with the manufactured home series. (In the graph, the value 100 could be any year.) It’s also clear, as noted above, that the price of manufactured homes is more volatile, as the market is likely too thin.
How this graph was created: Start from the release page for manufactured homes, click on the link to the release table with prices, check the two national series, and click “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Add Line” tab to search for “house price” and select the S&P/Case-Shiller National series and then the All-Transaction House Price Index. From the “Format” tab, make sure the scale for these series is on the right. Finally, restrict the sample to start when all data are available.
Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.