Manufactured Homes Carving a New Niche in the Housing Industry

The manufactured home industry at the turn of the century was experiencing growth in affordable housing in appealing to buyers of larger manufactured homes. This so-called era of the McMansions disappeared shortly following the early years of the new millenium. The manufactured housing industry is trying to carve a new niche in the market, after missing the housing boom and getting hammered by the financial crisis.

The sale of of all types of homes, including manufactured homes, has dramatically reduced over the last 6 years. The Manufactured Housing Institute which represents all aspects of the industry, finds the number of manufactured homes sold in the United States has declined by 57% over the last 6 years.That’s the bad news.

The good news is that following recent consolidation and technological advancements in the industry, surviving companies are rebuilding — hoping to cash in on a recovering housing market by building affordable energy efficient homes meeting federal and universal codes.

“Manufactured homes offer quality housing at costs from 10 to 35 percent less than site-built construction. As people continue to see utility costs rise with inflation, they will appreciate the cost savings achievable with energy-efficient manufactured homes,” said Cavco Industries Chairman & CEO Joe Stegmayer in a statement. Phoenix, Arizona-based Cavco is one of the largest producers of HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) code manufactured homes in the nation.

There are two types of manufactured homes. Manufactured homes, formerly called mobile homes, must follow stringent HUD codes. Modular homes must conform to state and local building codes.

Manufactured homes don’t look like the ones you would see in a trailer park, circa the 1960s. They are often indistinguishable from houses built from the ground up.

Sheri Koones has written books on the subject. Her latest book is called “Prefabulous + Sustainable.” She correctly believes the manufactured housing industry has a lot going for it right now.

“Anytime a technology comes along that is able to provide a product that is better quality, lower cost and quicker to market is destined to replace the existing technology, which in home construction has typically been built utilizing on-site construction,” said Koones.

McMansion envy of the 1990s and 2000s is becoming a distant memory. Downsizing square footage is an emerging trend that is boding well for manufactured home builders.

Koones said, “Manufactured home construction is growing in popularity as people have begun to find out that these methods offer superior quality and shorter construction time, generally at a lower cost than on-site construction.”

Even the Oracle of Omaha is betting on the industry. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway acquired Clayton Homes, a manufactured home conglomerate, in 2003. Clayton homes constructs one-and-two story modular and manufactured homes that cost between $20,000 and $130,000. is at the forefront of technological innovations in connecting manufactured home potential purchasers with manufacturers and retailers, along with in-depth information about new manufactured homes and the manufactured housing industry. The impending launch of will allow the manufactured home buyer to review the hundreds of new manufactured homes available across the U.S. and obtain price quotations with ease and comfort from home.

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