ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — An unusual honor has been bestowed on northwestern New Mexico's Farmington region, along with two metro areas in western Arizona: A new report shows they're the mobile home capitals of the country.
The U.S. Census Bureau report covering 2009-2011 found that out of 131.8 million various types of housing units in the United States, 8.6 million were mobile homes.
The largest number of mobile homes included in a metro area's housing inventory was found in Farmington, with a makeup of 32 percent, according to the April report "Physical Characteristics of Housing."
Coming in a close second was Yuma, Ariz., with 29 percent of its housing units comprised of mobile homes, while the Lake Havasu City-Kingman area had 26.7 percent.
The three regions were the only metro areas in the country with more than 25 percent of their housing inventories made up of mobile homes, according to the report.
The study looked at the entire Farmington metropolitan area, which includes surrounding San Juan County and the Navajo Nation, meaning the high proportion of mobile homes is likely found largely in more rural areas, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
More than two-thirds of the county's roughly 129,000 people live outside Farmington across 5,500 square miles of rugged, rural terrain, Theresa McBee, president of the San Juan Board of Realtors, told the newspaper.
She said manufactured homes tend to be the most affordable option for those living in remote regions.
"We're definitely not the only county with a high percentage" of such homes, McBee said.
The Lake Havasu City-Kingman area in Arizona likely has a large percentage of mobile homes due to its transient population of snowbirds and vacationers, said Dwayne Patterson, president of the Kingman/Golden Valley Association of Realtors. The same is true for the Yuma area.
"In Lake Havasu City, I would say the majority of them are snowbirds coming down from Canada," Patterson said. "They don't want high-dollar homes, and in many cases they just buy a piece of land and set up their manufactured homes.
"I'm still surprised we're that high in the rankings," he added, "but when you think about it, with all the vacationers, all the snowbirds, our market changes a lot so it makes sense."