Best of the Week

Latest

AP: Rents spike as investors buy up mobile home parks

Jeremy Ward poses for a portrait in front of his home in the Ridgeview Homes mobile home community in Lockport, N.Y., June 23, 2022. Ward is one of the Ridgeview residents participating in a rent strike after new owners of the park announced they were raising rents by 6%. “I moved here because it’s basically the most affordable living,” said Ward, who is disabled and living off of a fixed income. The plight of residents at Ridgeview is playing out nationwide as institutional investors, led by private equity firms and real estate trusts and sometimes funded by pension funds, swoop in to buy mobile home parks. (AP Photo / Lauren Petracca)

mobile_AP_22203483394050hm_1.jpg

Far removed from the oft-reported subject of housing prices in major cities, reporters Michael Casey and Carolyn Thompson combined national reporting and analysis with strong on-the-ground journalism for a unique story exposing how institutional investors are buying up mobile home parks,then raising rents to recoup their investments.

Sparked by a tip from housing advocates, Boston correspondent Casey identified a mobile home park in upstate New York that had been targeted repeatedly for rent increases by its corporate owners. Coupled with that was a failure of the company to maintain the park and address a long list of concerns from the mostly low-income and older residents.

Buffalo,New York,correspondent Thompson visited the park with freelance photographer Lauren Petracca to document the problems faced by residents. Casey then worked his housing sources to illustrate how this was not an isolated problem but part of a larger trend that has hit parks across the country. After drafting the story, the housing team turned to Samantha Shotzbarger to prepare a presentation that brought the text and photos to life.

The piece received strong play across the country and was among AP’s top stories for reader engagement on the day it ran.

Contact us