Park homes have been slowly increasing in popularity since 2004 – with almost three times the number of people searching for them in 2019 than they did fifteen years earlier.
Despite the growing demand, lots of people don’t know exactly what a park home is, or how it differs from a bungalow or even a static caravan.
Park homes often closely resemble bungalows in appearance; they’re detached homes housed on private land. This means that when you buy a park home you own the home, but not the land underneath or around it – though depending on the park your home is located in, you may be responsible for the maintenance of the ground around the home as you’ll be renting the land from the site owner.
To be considered a park home, it must be possible to relocate the property either in one whole piece or in just two pieces – if you’re a frequent motorway driver you’ve probably seen these being transported, it’s quite an impressive sight. Because of this, park homes are generally manufactured on a site and then transported to a piece of private land.
To dig into the technicalities, park homes are supposed to be less than 20 metres long, 6.8 metres wide, and 3.05 metres in height.
Legally, park homes are considered to be the same as mobile homes, which means that they’re covered by the Mobile Homes Act 1983. They’re covered by very high standards of building regulations (British Standard BS3632) and, similarly to ‘normal’ homes, park homes are connected to all the usual utility services which means that maintaining heat in the winter isn’t usually an issue.
As we just mentioned, the high levels of regulations that park homes are built to means that they’re designed to be lived in permanently, all year round. In fact, homes built since 2016 are built to a new specification, making them highly energy efficient, insulated, comfortable and relatively cheap to run.
Whilst park homes are built to be lived in year-round, that doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily be able to live in your park home all year. Different types of park home sites are governed by different laws, so if you do want to live in your park home all year, you need to research the site to ensure that it is allowed.
Visually, park homes and bungalows are very similar. The main difference is primarily how they are constructed. Whilst a bungalow is built in a more traditional way, with bricks and mortar from the foundations up, a park home is built in two sections and transported to the site.
Another significant difference is that you can’t get a mortgage on a park home, which means sourcing your own financing options (or using the ones provided by the company you purchase through).
You’ll often pay for your utilities through the park owner too rather than directly from a provider. There are strict rules in place that ensure you’re not charged too much, and site owners are not allowed to charge you more than they’ve paid, other than a reasonable administration fee – so this isn’t anything to worry about.
Finally, if and when you decide to sell your park home, the purchaser must be approved by the owner of the site the home is on, which is quite significantly different to the process of selling a bungalow. In our experience, site owners rarely stand in the way of a sale, unless there are contractual restrictions on the site, such as rules around the age of residents.
There isn’t really any difference between a static caravan and a mobile home – at least not to the untrained eye. Visually, they can be very similar; the difference lies in the legalities and subtle differences in general uses.
Generally, people tend to refer to a static caravan as a holiday caravan located on a holiday park, whereas the phrase ‘park home’ is used to describe residential homes in parks where residents tend to live for a higher percentage of the year.
The most significant difference is around the standards and requirements to which they are built. Whereas park homes are built to British Standard BS3632, static caravans are built to EN1647 – a lower standard of build, and fewer rules of the insulation that must be used. As a result, static caravans are not built to be suitable for year-round living.
Generally, anyone can live in a park home – unless the home has restrictions regarding the age of its residents, whether they’re family-friendly and whether they allow pets.
Whilst there are parks out there that are more than happy for young families with three dogs to live, park homes are generally more popular among the older community and specifically retired residents.
They’re perfect for those wanting to escape the fast-paced hustle of most residential areas and promote a more laid-back, relaxed style of living.
Now you’re a park home pro and know all of the benefits of owning and living in one, check out the residential parks we offer, and available homes in each park.