Housing is a human necessity. It's also a tradeable asset. Those two facts were at the core of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis. They are also at the heart of a disturbing trend: the financial exploitation of one of the last remaining areas of affordable housing in the US, mobile homes.

Large private equity funds such as The Carlyle Group, Blackstone and Apollo, as well as other major institutional investors such as the Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS) and the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, GIC, have gone long on trailer parks. Institutional investors accounted for 17 per cent