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07/17/2007

Cottage On Wheels

A new type of trailer home, called �park models� because they can be parked anywhere, are a maximum of 400 square feet under federal guidelines and therefore not taxed as permanent dwellings, making them an attractive option for beach, lake or mountain retreats, has become very popular.

With over 10,000 sold last year, manufacturers say they are having trouble meeting the demand for park models destined for private property, gated communities, resort campgrounds and even marinas.

Park models have a full-size bathtub and shower, a complete kitchen and satellite television.

Though they bare considered recreational vehicles, they look more like small houses. Lumber or a brick skirt around the bottom can hide their wheels, and additions such as a screened porch can double the square footage. Floor plans can include a wet bar, an island kitchen and a media room.

Park models are intended for temporary or recreational use and are therefore considered personal property like cars and boats. But they can be winterized for use in all seasons. Costing $20,000 to $80,000, they are subject to sales tax when purchased, and depending on the state or the municipality, they may require annual licensing and registration.

The number of park model communities is growing. They charge monthly co-op fees of $150 to $500 and are being developed throughout the country, but particularly in areas that are attractive for vacation or retirement homes, like Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Texas.


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