Manufactured homes are the perfect solution to America’s affordable housing crisis. Here’s why.
America’s affordable housing crisis has entrenched its culture for years. With home prices now creeping up everywhere, not just in expensive cities or technological meccas, more and more Americans are either falling victim to homelessness, trapped in an expensive renting cycle, or else left to settle for homes that are smaller, more expensive, and farther away from work than those purchased by the generations before them.
In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the rate of U.S. home ownership declined by 62.9% - which is the sharpest reported decline since the figure first started tracking in 1965. And renters don’t fare any better. According to a report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies in 2013, nearly half of all renters can’t afford their rent.
The nuts and bolts of the affordable housing issue are complex, though many economists will say it comes down to high demand for homes with low supply. Construction rates cannot keep up with the need, and there are not enough laws that provide pricing protection for low- and middle-income Americans.
This is where manufactured homes come in as the most viable solution. Manufactured homes are constructed more efficiently, more affordably, and far more quickly than their stick-built counterparts. This alone should make manufactured housing an easy answer to the short supply of livable homes in America.
And yet, despite that fact that these affordable housing solutions are structurally safe, attractive and produced with all of the same materials as stick-built homes, manufactured housing still faces an unjustified stigma in America. The truth is, common myths about manufactured housing just don’t hold up against the elegance and integrity of their modern designs.
So, how exactly are these homes the answer to such a pervasive and long-held problem in America? Let’s explore.
Manufactured homes are constructed quickly.
Prefabricated homes differ from site-built homes due to the way they are constructed. Manufactured homes are constructed in off-site, climate-controlled factories, through processes that have been refined and streamlined.
Not only does this allow for construction to continue independently of unexpected weather events, it also requires less labor, less time, less energy use, and less expense.
It’s well understood that on-site construction activities can be costly, wasteful, and inefficient. Building homes in factories circumvents these problems by reducing wasted materials and making efficient use of machinery to use the minimal amount of energy and manpower.
All said and done, a prefabricated home can be built and ready to ship in just weeks, with simpler designs taking only days. By comparison, homes constructed on-site can take anywhere from three to nine months, and that’s without significant interruptions. Manufactured housing’s quick and efficient build process goes a long way in ensuring the supply is there to meet the demand for affordable homes.
Manufactured homes are affordable...
Due to the cost-saving and efficient building process, manufactured homes can be constructed with all of the same quality materials as site-built homes, and still be sold at a fraction of the cost.
According to the United States Census Bureau, manufactured homes account for 70% of new homes in the United States that cost less than $150,000. (Clayton)
This means that the large majority of homes in America that are affordable to low- and middle-income Americans are manufactured homes. Yet, while the volume of manufactured homes produced has increased year over year for the last decade, they still only house less than 10% of the United States population.
This means there is tremendous growing potential as more people embrace the safety, beauty and livability of these affordable homes.
...And community living makes manufactured homes even more affordable.
Manufactured homes still need a place to live, and the cost of land in many metropolitan areas can be quite high. Land-lease communities exist to circumvent this problem. Within communities like UMH’s manufactured home communities, people can own their home as an asset while renting the land it lives on.
This makes homeownership even more accessible. Individuals purchasing homes in land-lease communities don’t have to pay for land, they don’t have to pay to place the home, they don’t have to pay to have utilities like septic, plumbing and electric connected to the home, and they have the added cost-saving benefit of amenities like maintenance and on-site management included in their lot rent.
To find out more about UMH’s manufactured home communities, or to find a community near you, check out our community finder tool and start planning your journey to homeownership, today.