How Manufactured Housing Can Save Americans Dream of Quality Affordable Homeownership
The following are portions of a narrative by John Adams and FOX 5 Atlanta Digital Team, titled How Manufactured Housing Can Save America.
You finally graduated from college at 28, moved out of your parent’s basement at 30, married your best friend at 32, and now she is pregnant. You’re 33, and now you want to buy a house and quit paying rent. But you’re squeezed between sky-high housing costs and rising interest rates.
Millennial couples are the largest single block of prospective homebuyers. But during the pandemic, home prices in Georgia skyrocketed, and in 2022 borrowing costs more than doubled.
Fox 5 real estate expert John Adams says today’s millennial home buyers can get out of paying rent every month by buying a “manufactured home” from one of several manufacturers located right here in Georgia.
Adams says this “this isn’t a trailer in a trailer park.” Instead, it’s a quality built home that is almost identical to traditional “site-built” housing, except it is built in a factory and transported to the lot where it will be placed on a foundation.
These manufactured homes come in all shapes and sizes, all with options like fireplaces and screen porches, so the cost can vary considerably, just as it does in traditional houses.
But here is the kicker: the average cost in July last year of a new manufactured home in Georgia was $82,000 for a single-wide and only $158,700 for a brand new double-wide three bedroom two bath home. That is from a recent report of the Census Bureau’s Manufactured Housing Survey (MHS).
Let’s look at some pros and cons of manufactured housing:
- It’s a good product
Today’s manufactured homes are solidly built and environmentally friendly. They are super energy-efficient, and come with all the features one might expect in a new subdivision home.
- It can last forever
Well, maybe not forever, but with proper upkeep and maintenance, manufactured homes have a long-life expectancy, with the potential to last indefinitely.
- The price is right
The cost per square foot is less than half that of site-built homes. New construction clocks in at well over $120/sq.ft., while homes built on an assembly line cost around $55 per square foot.
- Uncle Sam approves
In 1976, HUD adopted a code of manufacturing for manufactured housing that sets the standards for “structural design, construction, fire safety, energy efficiency, and transportation from the factory to the customer’s home site.”
- Tax benefits
FHA has a variety of very attractive 30 year fixed rate loan programs for eligible manufactured housing. You need not own the land under your home, but you certainly can if you wish. And you still get all the tax benefits of owning a traditional home.
- Availability and cost of suitable land
In suburban and sparsely populated areas, there can be a shortage of available land with proper access and existing utility service. In some areas, almost all available land is deed-restricted or zoned to effectively require site-built construction. Land cost can vary considerably.
- Lingering stigma of a trailer park
Although modern manufacturing methods and design have altered the view of mobile homes, there is still a bias against them in some areas.
- Transportation cost
The cost of transportation from the factory to the site may not be included in the quoted price, and can be considerable.
The bottom line is, according to the Census Bureau, more than 22 million Americans live in manufactured homes. Affordability and quality of construction are two critically important factors that I believe will become increasingly important factors that I believe will become increasingly important as our housing industry struggles to make the dream of homeownership available for those who desire it and can afford it.