In the United States, the term manufactured housing specifically refers to a house built entirely in a protected environment under a federal code set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The term mobile home describes factory-built homes produced prior to the 1976 HUD Code enactment.
The original focus of this form of housing was its mobility. Units were initially marketed primarily to people whose lifestyle required mobility. However, beginning in the 1950s, these homes began to be marketed primarily as an inexpensive form of housing designed to be set up and left in a location for long periods of time, or even permanently installed with a masonry foundation. Previously, units had been eight feet or less in width, but in 1956, the 10-foot (3.0 m) wide home was introduced. This helped solidify the line between mobile and house/travel trailers, since the smaller units could be moved simply with an automobile, but the larger, wider units required the services of a professional trucking company. In the 1960s and '70s, the homes became even longer and wider, making the mobility of the units more difficult. Today, when a factory-built home is moved to a location, it is usually kept there permanently. The mobility of the units has considerably decreased.
The factory-built homes of the past developed a negative stereotype because of their lower cost and the tendency for their value to depreciate more quickly than site-built homes. The tendency of these homes to rapidly depreciate in resale value made using them as collateral for loans far riskier than traditional home loans. Loan terms were usually limited to less than the 30-year term typical of the general home-loan market, and interest rates were considerably higher. In other words, these home loans resembled motor vehicle loans far more than traditional home mortgages. They have been consistently linked to lower-income families, which has led to prejudice and zoning restrictions, which include limitations on the number and density of homes permitted on any given site, minimum size requirements, limitations on exterior colors and finishes, and foundation mandates. Many jurisdictions do not allow the placement of any additional factory-built homes, while others have strongly limited or forbidden all single-wide models, which tend to depreciate in value more rapidly than modern double-wide models. The derogatory concept of a "trailer park" is typically older single-wide homes occupying small, rented lots and remaining on wheels, even if the home stays in place for decades. Modern homes, especially modular homes, belie this image and can be identical in appearance to site-built homes. Newer homes, particularly double-wides, tend to be built to much higher standards than their predecessors. This has led to a reduction in the rate of value depreciation of many used units.
Although great strides have been made in terms of quality, manufactured homes do still struggle with construction problems. Author Wes Johnson has pointed out that the HUD code which governs manufactured homes desperately needs to be updated, quality control at manufacturing facilities are often lax, and set-up issues often compromise even a well-made manufactured home. The Manufactured Home Buyer's Handbook points out that four out of five new manufactured home owners find at least one major problem with their new home, and most are unable to arrange for satisfactory repairs under their warranty. These continuing quality issues mean that even the newest manufactured units will probably face some issues with both stigma and excess depreciation. Johnson states buyers need to be exceptionally cautious if they are entertaining the idea of purchasing any manufactured home by carefully checking it for defects before signing the contract and supervising the set-up process closely.
Both types of homes - manufactured and modular - are commonly referred to as factory built housing, but they are not identical. Modular homes are transported on flatbed trucks rather than being towed, and lack axles and an automotive-type frame. However, some modular houses are towed behind a semi-truck or toter on a frame similar to that of a trailer. The house is usually in two pieces and is hauled by two separate trucks. Each frame has five or more axles, depending on the size of the house. Once the house has reached its location, the axles and the tongue of the frame are then removed, and the house is set on a concrete foundation by a large crane. Most modern modular homes, once fully assembled, are indistinguishable from site-built homes. Their roofs are usually transported as separate units, eradicating the telltale roof line of the factory built home.
Factory-built housing in AustraliaEdit
In Australia these homes are commonly known as transportable homes, relocatable homes or prefabricated homes. They are not as common as in the US, but the industry is expected to grow as this method of construction becomes more accepted.
Manufactured home parks refer to housing estates where the house owner rents the land instead of owning it. This is quite common in Queensland in both the form of tourist parks and over 50's estates. The term transportable homes tends to be used to refer to houses that are built on land that is owned by the house owner.
Typically the homes are built in regional areas where the cost of organizing tradespeople and materials is higher than in the cities. In particular prefabricated homes have been popular in mining towns or other towns experiencing demand for new housing in excess of what can be handled by local builders. This method of construction is governed by state construction legislation and is subject to local council approval and homeowners' warranty or home warranty insurance.
- Modular home
- Prefabricated home
- HUD USER
- Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse
- Lustron house
- Dymaxion house
- Cardinal Industries, Inc.
- Palm Harbor Homes
- All American Homes
- All Parks Alliance for Change
- NTA Inc
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