Manufactured housing is getting increased attention as an affordable option for
lower- and moderate- income people. The U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently
Community Guide to Factory-Built Housing," targeted to "nonprofit
development groups that provide housing in urban areas." Noting the "tremendous
need for new homes in America's cities and towns," HUD states that "Manufactured
and modular housing-the most common forms of factory-built housing-are now common
alternatives to traditionally constructed homesà" Technological innovations
by the manufactured housing industry are cited by HUD as making it possible to maintain
both quality and affordability in factory-built housing.
In an article published last year in Fannie Mae Foundation's journal Housing
Policy Debate, authors Julia O. Beamish et al. said: "While images of 'newly
wed or nearly dead' may once have been the typical profile of the 'trailer' or 'mobile
home' resident, the reality is that 2 out of every 10 new home starts are manufactured
housing, and new owners represent all age groups and every economic status and lifestyle."
a Trailer Anymore: Perceptions of Manufactured Housing" (full text PDF
file) or a Findings
community development corporation in Seattle, found a way to provide affordable
housing for moderate-income families in an increasingly expensive housing market
by using a stacked, two-story configuration of factory-built housing. The Noji Gardens
development has drawn a lot of attention, even being featured in a story on CNN
(see link the CNN story and other news coverage on the Noji
Gardens page of HomeSight's Web site). Read a feature article about Noji
Gardens on the KnowledgePlex; the development is also cited as a model in a
report on a series of affordable housing roundtables sponsored by the National Housing
As further evidence of the increasing respectability of factory-built housing,
The State of the Nation's Housing 2002, to be published June 25 by the Joint
Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University [a KnowledgePlex Founding Partner],
will for the first time include a section on manufactured housing. Watch the KnowledgePlex
for release of the report and a subsequent live chat with one of the authors.
In "Why Advocates Need to Rethink Manufactured Housing,"
an article published in Housing Policy Debate, Richard Genz argues that although
manufactured homes are "a major source of unsubsidized, low-cost housing,"
a long-time bias against such housing has bred inattention that has "perpetuated
bad bargains in financing, legal protection, quality, and appreciation."
"Manufacturing Affordability?" published by the Neighborhood
Reinvestment Corporation [a KnowledgePlex Founding Partner] suggests "the
market for manufactured homes, formerly referred to as mobile homes, is changing"
and explores the use of manufactured housing "as an affordable housing choice
and an urban infill strategy."
"Manufactured Housing: A Study of Power and Reform in Industry Regulation"
is a case study of the National Commission on Manufactured Housing and its attempt
to reform the regulatory system. It describes the importance of manufactured housing
as an affordable alternative to site-built housing and tells how efforts to reform
the regulatory system through a consensus process initially succeeded but ultimately
"An Anatomy of the Low-Income Homeownership Boom in the 1990s"
cites manufactured housing as playing "a particularly important role in satisfying
low-income buyers housing demand." Published by the Joint Center for Housing
Studies, Harvard University, this working paper states: "More than one-quarter
of such [low-income] buyers purchased manufactured homes nationwide in 1997, and
in the South in 1997 fully 40 percent bought them."
APA recognizes in its "Policy
Guide on Factory Built Housing" that "Factory built housing plays
an increasing role in the provision of housing in all market segments in the United
States." The guide urges communities, through the planning process, to assess
existing planning provisions for factory-built housing and to design and implement
new provisions where necessary.
Future of Manufactured Housing" provides a look at the history and evolution
of manufactured housing.
HAC's mission is to help provide affordable housing is rural areas; since manufactured
housing is especially common in nonmetropolitan areas, HAC has a variety of resources
available on the topic.
PATH, a public-private
partnership for "advancing housing technology," is managed and supported
The Manufactured Housing Institute provides a variety of general and statistical
information about manufactured housing.
Facts"-The latest trends and information on the manufactured housing industry.