The Washington Post

A factory-built solution to affordable housing?

Manufactur­ed homes are garnering interest but caveats exist

- BY BETH DECARBO

Manufactur­ed homes get a fresh look, but experts have some concerns.

As if dealing with a pandemic weren’t enough, young profession­als Eryn Street and Jonathan Fuss last year decided to move from Long Beach, Calif., to Sacramento, so Street could go back to college. But before any of that could happen, the couple — she’s a critical care nurse and he’s a telecom engineer — needed an affordable place to live.

Like many parts of the country during the pandemic, Sacramento’s housing market was on fire, with a median sale price of $380,000 in July 2020, up from $348,500 the year before, according to Realtor.com. That was far too steep when combined with tuition. Even renting was out of reach — homes in the couple’s desired location started at $3,000 a month.

Then, Street’s mother suggested an alternativ­e: a manufactur­ed home, a factory-built structure on a metal frame that’s transporte­d to a homesite.

They looked at five or six models before finding one they liked, a three-bedroom, two-bath unit built in 1992 and listed for $109,000. Their loan payment, utility bills and $660 lot fee at their mobile home park total about $1,500 a month.

“I didn’t know a lot about manufactur­ed homes,” said Street, 33. “I was surprised by the flow of the home and love the design. It was being remodeled with new flooring and appliances,” and the plumbing and electrical lines were also new.

Living in a mobile home park has also been a pleasant surprise, she added. “We love our neighbors and it’s really quiet.” It’s an all-age park with cultural diversity, another plus. “We’ve met several neighbors. Everybody’s really sweet.”

There are approximat­ely 6.7 million occupied manufactur­ed homes in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Low inventory of single-family homes is driving more buyers to look at

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 ?? MARJE/GETTY IMAGES ?? A community of manufactur­ed homes. Low inventory of single-family homes is driving more buyers to consider manufactur­ed housing, said Nicole Bachaud, an economic analyst with Zillow. Listing prices and sale prices are up since the pandemic struck last year.
MARJE/GETTY IMAGES A community of manufactur­ed homes. Low inventory of single-family homes is driving more buyers to consider manufactur­ed housing, said Nicole Bachaud, an economic analyst with Zillow. Listing prices and sale prices are up since the pandemic struck last year.

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