(StatePoint) Affordable housing is in high demand in cities and counties nationwide. Experts say that areas grappling with affordable housing issues may find factory-built homes to be a powerful tool in addressing this need.
Built in a factory and delivered to home sites, this efficient process translates into lower production costs that are passed on to the consumer. The good news is while manufactured homes cost less than site-built homes they are just as high quality. The average new manufactured home costs around $70,600. The cost for a smaller new single-section home can be as low as $20,000. In 2016, manufactured homes accounted for 80 percent of all new homes sold under $150,000.
Unfortunately, when many people think of manufactured housing, the old stereotype of a run-down trailer park enters their minds. However, most of the more than 37,000 manufactured housing communities in the U.S. are a far cry from that negative image, boasting amenities like community centers, organized activities and children’s play areas. Other benefits may include:
• The option to rent an existing home in the community or place your own home in the community.
• Provided services, which often include professional property management, care and maintenance of common grounds, as well as resources and amenities like trash removal, community centers, playgrounds, storage and laundry facilities.
• The possibility of not paying real estate taxes. While it varies state-to-state, residents of land-lease manufactured home communities often don’t pay real estate taxes, but rather, pay a personal-property tax, offsetting the cost of land-lease rents for the homeowner.
• Affordable homeownership, along with many of its benefits, including control over home and yard improvements, as well as convenient parking.
• A sense of community. In many communities, there are social or activity clubs, fitness amenities, and friendly and caring neighbors. Indeed, “sense of belonging” is among the most frequent responses about why residents enjoy living in a land-lease community.
Newer manufactured homes come in a variety of architectural styles and exterior finishes that will suit most any buyer’s desires, as well as customization opportunities, including interior features like vaulted ceilings, fireplaces and state-of-the-art kitchens and baths.
They also feature enhanced energy efficiency in an era of rising energy costs, thanks to upgraded insulation and more efficient heating and cooling systems than homes from decades ago.
Smart buyers also are turning to ENERGY STAR-labeled manufactured homes for additional savings.
Modern manufactured homes are among the safest housing choices today, as homes must adhere to strict federal building standards. All aspects of construction are continually inspected by professionally trained third-parties, and homes feature smoke detectors, and limited combustible materials around furnaces, water heaters and kitchen ranges, as well as wind resistance in areas prone to hurricane-force winds.
“The need for quality, affordable housing has never been greater. However, today’s manufactured homes are high-quality and cost up to 50 percent less per square foot than conventional site-built homes,” says Richard Jennison, president and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute. “These savings are allowing more Americans to own a home in the face of an ever-widening housing affordability gap.”