With Sun Communities’ $344 million deal to acquire the Southington-based prefab home developer Jensen’s, the nation’s second largest mobile home operator picks up 15 Connecticut communities.
They include Lakeview on Danbury’s Kenosia Lake, among more than 30 in eight states from Georgia to New Hampshire.
Jensen’s markets its communities primarily to people age 55 and older looking for smaller, standalone homes for their retirement years, as an alternative to condominium units or other affordable dwellings.
According to Sun Communities, about 93 of every 100 Jensen’s homes are occupied today. Prices for those units range from more than $200,000 for a new home to as low as $50,000 for units up for resale, with prices varying as well according to factors like location, size and features.
At Lakeview and many other Jensen’s developments, unit owners have access to a community clubhouse, pool and walking trails.
Other Connecticut towns with Jensen’s trailer parks include Yankee Village in Old Saybrook; Grove Beach and New England Village in Westbrook; and communities in Southington, Uncasville, Storrs, Killington, Plainville and Terryville.
The companies aim to complete the transaction by the end of this year. In a prepared statement, Jensen’s president Kris Jensen indicated Sun Communities’ reputation was a factor in reaching a deal, and promised “the highest of standards” in Sun Communities’ operation of the developments going forward.
Constructing its first trailer park in West Hartford during World War II to house Pratt & Whitney workers, Jensen’s has more than 5,200 units today in its portfolio, and expansion space for an additional 460 more.
If completed as planned, the Jensen’s deal would push Sun Communities’ total portfolio to more than 410 developments in all totaling nearly 140,000 units. The company trails only Equity Lifestyle Properties nationally for total unit count according to MHU, a Colorado company that tracks the sector.
Sun Communities shares are up by half this year to more than $146 on the New York Stock Exchange, with the company nearly doubling second quarter profits from a year ago to $40.4 million and revenue up 15 percent for the period to $312 million.
In addition to mobile home parks, Sun Communities also operates campgrounds that accommodate recreational vehicles, with the company acquiring a half-dozen this year including the Hid’n Pines RV campground at Maine’s Old Orchard Beach and the Strafford/Lake Winnipesaukee South KOA RV in Strafford, N.H.
Last month, CEO Gary Shiffman told investment analysts that the company has seen both its regular mobile home parks and its RV campgrounds, driven respectively by demand for affordable housing and vacation spending, with Sun Communities president adding …
“I think the biggest draw has been the continued need for affordability, which is what our product and our communities offer and the quality that we offer along with it,” said John McLaren, president of Sun Communities. “And we continue to see really solid demand — in 2018, we had 45 percent growth in new home sales, and we’re 10 percent ahead of last year, even with the big year … in 2018.”
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman