Los Angeles, CA

I Grew Up Wealthy but Can Now Only Afford a Trailer Home

Elle Silver

I can't believe I'm actually entertaining buying a mobile home. You'd be surprised how nice some of the trailer parks are here in Los Angeles though.


Photo of trailers on the beach, by Laura Cleffmann.

You should have seen where I grew up in Los Angeles. My father was a successful aerospace engineer, and my mother was a schoolteacher. We lived in a five-bedroom house with a big backyard and a sparkling swimming pool.

I always assumed I’d have the same life with my kids. I tied the knot with a man I thought had a stable career as a real estate investor. We had two children and lived in a four-bedroom house in an affluent part of Los Angeles.


Then the Great Recession hit. My husband lost his business. We lost our home. We moved into a crappy rental, and my husband couldn't find work.

He wasn't even looking. He was depressed and just lay in bed all day.

We started arguing all the time. Our financial problems exacerbated other issues we had.

We divorced. When I left my husband, I left with nothing. He was broke and wasn’t able to give me child support.

When I became a single mother, I became a member of the working poor. I'm doing better now. I'm climbing my way back into the middle class. I really want to buy my own house.

The issue is, houses in L.A. are too expensive. Even as the national economy reels as the result of the pandemic, L.A. real estate is booming. Because housing is in high demand, home prices have skyrocketed.

The countywide median selling price of a single-family home is $700,000. Even the median cost of a condo is $571,000.

As a single mom, I just can’t afford these prices. But I could afford a mobile home.

There are some very nice mobile homes in Los Angeles.

You'd be surprised, but there are some really nice trailer homes here in L.A., especially those located near the beach.

Take Palos Verdes Shores MH & Golf Community. The trailer homes in this park overlook the Pacific Ocean with enviable views of Catalina Island.


Photo by Ralph (Ravi) Kayden.

Imagine waking up every morning to the sound of waves crashing against the shore, cool ocean breezes blowing through your window, the beach just a short walk away from your front door. And imagine the sunsets!

That—and the mobile home will only put you back $300,000. In L.A.? Could it be?

The answer is yes.

There happens to be a beautiful double-wide on the market right now for $340,000 in Palos Verdes Shoes MH & Golf Community. Sure, HOA fees need to be paid. There's also the rental of the space where the mobile home sits.

But still, this is actually a price I could afford. The home is also located in a beautiful, safe, affluent part of the city.

Rancho Verde Mobile Home Park is another park in the same area. It's not situated overlooking the Pacific, still, it's only a few miles away from the beach. There's a mobile home in that community on sale right now for $215,000.

Palisades Bowl Manufactured Home Park also has a home on sale for $399,000. This community does overlook the Pacific and is just a stone's throw away from both Santa Monica and Malibu.

You're just not going to find prices like that for a brick-and-mortar house in this city, especially not in a nice part.

What holds me back from purchasing a mobile home?

As beautiful as the settings may be outside these trailers, and as gorgeous as the trailers' interiors might look, I ask myself if I could actually do it. Even as I consider buying a trailer home, I wonder: would I ever?

Let's face it, trailer homes have a bad name. People who live in trailers have unfortunately earned the nickname: "trailer trash."


Photo by Markus Spiske.

Will I become "trailer trash" if I buy a mobile home? When I was a kid, we didn't live anywhere near people who lived in trailers. Do I really want my kids to grow up in one?

Trailer homes are the only affordable homes now in L.A.

I'm not sure if I have much of a choice though. If I want to buy a home, I'll have to settle for what I can afford. Yes, I would have loved to bring up my kids in a big house like I lived in as a child. However, my life just hasn't played out that way.

I'm doing better than I was when I first left my husband. Still, I'm struggling. I certainly can't afford the mortgage on a $700,000 house that will most likely still be in a crappy part of Los Angeles with no good schools near it.

That's why I'm considering a trailer home. I could live near the beach. I could live the L.A. dream.


Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie.

Even though trailer homes still have the reputation they do, they seem to be the last real estate open to "normal people" in L.A.

People like me.

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I'm a relationships expert with a focus on post-divorce dating and family. Everything I've learned about love, I've learned the hard way. You can learn from my mistakes.

Los Angeles, CA

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