"The wave of the future is manufactured or modular homes to answer America's affordable housing problem" - These are the words of Paul Comino, than founder of Home Nation, a family owned business that's pushing the manufactured housing industry forward. Remember these words, as we go further to explain the reason behind the main fact of this article - Americans are more and more opting for manufactured homes.
Many people do not believe that such modular homes are "real" homes, and they usually give no reason for this assertion, they simply stand firm behind their words because they are human beings, and as we all know, we humans are never easily convinced that something new or unfamiliar is actually better than something to which we have grown accustomed, even if the "unfamiliar thing" really is better than the old one.
First of all, for the average citizen, when it comes to building a home, the two most important things are the cost and the longevity, i.e. the life span of the home. Many other things should also be considered, of course, but many of them can also be included into the factors just mentioned.
Now, when talking about modular homes, the most important thing to mention is that they are made for up to 30% less money than it takes to make traditional homes, and they offer the same quality and the same comfort that your average, traditionally built home does. Sometimes the savings can be even larger, as Comino has said "Housing development with modular homes holds its value in Florida and they are very nice homes at half the cost of standard-built homes."
When realizing that one can save such large amounts of money in the production process, it's no surprise that Americans who are familiar enough with manufactured homes, choose them over traditional ones. But even though with all this mentioned, a relatively small number of new houses are classified as modular today in the US. Less than 3% of new homes that have been built in the US are modular homes. Then again, when considering that many home builders still don't believe that manufactured homes are a better solution; this fact is of no surprise.
Thankfully, many home builders are changing their minds and realizing the potential of modular homes, partly due to the fact than many countries around the world have long been using this method of creating houses, and a much larger number of homes are modular there already. In some European countries, a third of houses built in the near past are modular, and in Japan, more than three quarters of houses are modular.
Another thing that is changing people's minds are the changes in policies concerning manufactured homes and Government programs that are being made to incite people to opt for manufactured homes. For example, in Ohio, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently added a provision to the Single Family Housing Direct loan program, that will help finance many of the already existing manufactured homes with long-term, fixed rate financing. And in addition to Ohio, several other states are going to include this provision in the near future; All of which means that a bright future is coming for new home buyers who are interested in manufactured homes.
Many companies in the US have also seen the benefits and have turned to modular homes. They solve the problem of the shortage in skilled labor that has existed as early as 2006, since manufactured homes do not require many workers on the job site. Moreover, they don't require many workers at all. Besides the money, they save time as well, since modular homes can be mostly assembled beforehand and brought to the job site in several parts, where the workers build it all up, which takes them only a few days. The time saving is not only good for the workers and their companies, but for the clients as well as they don't have to wait too long to get settled into their new home after purchase.
Another good thing here is that many advanced technological features which are in high demand today for houses are better to be built in controlled environments, where, for example, the weather can't do any damage. "Automobiles, airplanes and others have been able to utilize these same techniques" - a valid point raised by Dan Bridleman, senior vice president for sustainability, technology and strategic sourcing at KB Home. We've been using these production processes in other areas of modern life, so why not take bring it into housing?
Many professionals believe that this rising demand for advanced technologies and the labor shortages will make the builders who are using the traditional methods of building houses to opt for building manufactured homes. It stands to reason that they will, since as you can see, the process for making manufactured homes is much simpler, easier, requires less time, and saves money.
Expect to see the demand for manufactured homes among Americans grow bigger and bigger, and we can expect that in a decade or so, the US will be counted among the nations that already use modular homes as their preferred method for home building.