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Overcoming Stigma, Buyers Are Turning to Prefab Homes

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Prefab + Panelization

Overcoming Stigma, Buyers Are Turning to Prefab Homes

An offspring of the mobile home, stylish manufactured homes are taking buyers by surprise and offering a reprieve from record high housing prices

February 1, 2022
prefab home construction
Image: Stock.adobe.com

In a fast-selling housing market with limited supply, buyers are turning to prefab as an efficient and affordable alternative to site-built homes, Florida Realtors reports. Unlike a traditionally built house, a manufactured home is assembled in a facility with a controlled environment and later delivered to its final location. The process dramatically reduces labor costs and improves building efficiency, leaving finished products with significantly cheaper price tags. 

In 2021, the average price per square foot for a manufactured home was roughly $57, while the price per square foot for a home built on-location was $119, excluding land. In an overheated housing market, buyers searching for affordability can find 1,000 to 2,200 square foot prefabricated homes at an average price of $138,000, 40% lower than the median sales price of an existing home at $362,600, and one-third the cost of a new single-family home at $416,900.

For the first time in 15 years, manufactured homes were on track to deliver more than 100,000 units last year, a 23% increase over 2016, according to the organization.

Today, manufactured homes refer to homes built on or after June 15, 1976, with construction standards regulated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The term “mobile” or “trailer” homes are typically used to describe bare-bones manufactured homes built before 1976.

The quality and durability of manufactured homes have improved in recent decades to conform to federal and state construction requirements. This has made manufactured homes an affordable and attractive form of housing for many, on either individual lots or in parks, say industry experts.

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