OPINION: How Manufactured Housing Could Reshape the Housing Market in 2020 and Beyond

The manufactured home market has shown consistent, albeit nominal, recovery beginning in 2011 in the aftermath of the Great Financial Crisis. For the following eight consecutive years, HUD Code manufactured homes produced, shipped and sold an average of nearly 100,000 homes per year, about one-half the number of homes previous to the housing and mortgage crisis.

The stagnation of results is somewhat misleading as the totals do not include the expansion of modular homes, built to residential codes, that are also produced by HUD Code manufacturers.

Beginning in 2020 we are optimistic that manufactured housing is on the cusp of providing access to affordable high-quality housing for many more Americans dreaming of homeownership, that heretofore has not been, nor will be affordable or available to millions in the traditional (site-built) sense.

We, in the manufactured housing industry, have come to expect the unexpected. We are sharing five predictions for the U.S. manufactured housing market that may counter conventional wisdom. However, we believe there is a reasonable expectation that our prognostications could materialize, if not now, certainly in the near future.

  1. Regulatory reforms will alleviate local barriers to manufactured home placement:  It is estimated that 22 million Americans live in manufactured homes. About one-third of those reside in mobile homes or manufactured home communities (parks) located usually in metropolitan areas. The large majority of the remaining are sited on rural private property.

The scarcity of manufactured homeowners in urban areas is a result of local “home only” zoning ordinances that ban manufactured homes placement in cities and towns across the country. That may be changing.

The U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), led by Director Ben Carson has initiated numerous regulatory post-production reforms that further reduce costs to homebuyers and have proposed a study that would alleviate state and local impediments that discriminate against manufactured housing. Any success of these reforms would allow many more Americans access to affordable quality manufactured homes in and around cities and towns. 

  1. Nation’s lack of traditional housing affordability and scarcity remains in crisis mode: There are zero indications that new or existing affordable site-built housing will be available any time in the foreseeable future. In fact, there are numerous builders and developers turning toward factory-built homes as an alternative to expensive on-site construction costs.

The cost gap between a site-built home and a manufactured home continues to widen with the cost of a new modern custom-built manufactured home averaging 50% less than a comparably sized site-built home and will be equal, or superior, in every respect, including quality of construction, safety features, amenities, and appearance.

  1. Gen Z will join Millennials as major first-time homeowners: While Millenials will still comprise the largest group of first-time homebuyers for the foreseeable future, the next generation of home buyers is on the horizon: Generation Z.

The trend of Gen Z buying homes will only accelerate, as they graduate from high school and college, get jobs and start families. This generation is already being felt around the world. Gen Z is 20% of Brazil’s population, for example.

Gen Z are people born between 1995 and 2010, and the oldest of them are starting to buy their first home and most are gravitating to quality homes they can afford, manufactured homes, with as little as 5% down payments and monthly payments less than rent. Like millennials, Gen Z’s appreciate customizing their home to meet their wants and lifestyle requirements.

Unlike millennials, Gen Z didn’t fully experience the Great Financial Crisis of 2008.

  1. Nation’s continuing robust economy will further manufactured homeownership: With unemployment at all-time lows, increased wages and low-interest rates, there are many hardworking low to middle-income Americans becoming optimistic about homeownership. 

Due to the lack of affordability and availability of quality affordable site-built homes those improvements in personal economic conditions may still come up short.  As a result, those that discover manufactured homes may realize that uniquely American Dream of homeownership is still alive with today’s modern manufactured home, possessing all the advantages of “everything a home should be.” At half the cost!

  1. Advanced technology enhances and simplifies manufactured home shopping experience: More and more home shoppers are becoming aware of the virtues and values of today’s manufactured housing as an affordable pathway to quality homeownership. 

The awareness has become possible as a result of advanced on-line technology that allows potential homebuyers to discover the virtues of manufactured housing, enhancing and simplifying a shopping experience from the privacy of home. That portal exists here.

Here at ManufacturedHomes.com we are the nation’s largest source for everything manufactured housing has to offer. Shoppers are invited to review a comprehensive number of informational blogs, explore 1000’s of floor plans, models, construction specifications and an expansive library of 3D virtual tours, (boasting over 10.3 million views). Shoppers may enter their location on the home page search bar to explore a wide selection of homes available near you. Find a home (or homes) you love and request a no-obligation Custom Price Quote from the comfort and privacy of home.

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