Can Mobile Homes Help Solve America's Affordability Crisis?
Doug Ryan, Rooflines blogger and director of affordable homeownership initiatives at the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), dispels some of the myths about manufactured housing and suggests the promise it holds in offering affordable homeownership to many families. Manufactured homes of the present are no longer mobile trailers that trap inhabitants in concentrated pockets of poverty. As Ryan puts it, "[manufactured housing] is housing that can appreciate, blend into existing and planned neighborhoods and become a meaningful part of a region’s housing assets. And it is less expensive, less wasteful and quicker to develop than other housing options."
What many do not know is that manufactured housing costs nearly half of what site built units costs. In addition, the housing is about 60% the size of standard homes, offering a less costly solution for thousands of families locked out of the new housing market.
Ryan is sure to state that manufactured housing is only part of a solution to the shortage in affordable units in the housing stock. And, it comes with its own set of challenges including the chattel loans that are often used to finance these homes and how they severely reduce the asset building potential of manufactured housing. But with such a shortage of available units and an even greater demand for the units in this resurgent market, policymakers, planners, advocates, and neighborhood activists need to start examining nuanced ideas for solving the problem.