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Perspectives Blog

Manufactured Homes: A Shrinking Source of Low-Cost Housing

June 27, 2013


Patrick Simmons

Where has manufactured housing production gone?

Since peaking in 1998 at 374,000 units, manufactured home placements have fallen by nearly 90 percent.

As production of manufactured housing declined, its share of all occupied housing units fell from 7.0 percent in 2000 to 5.9 percent in 2011.  Despite manufactured housing’s modest share of the total housing stock, the drop in manufactured home production is notable both because of the severity of decline and because  manufactured homes account for an outsized share of low-cost housing, particularly among owner-occupants. Whereas manufactured homes account for 7 percent of all owner-occupied homes, they represent 16 percent of owner-occupied units with monthly housing costs of less than $500. As shown in the Exhibit, the median monthly housing cost for owner-occupied manufactured homes is less than half that of other housing types.

Exhibit: Manufactured Homes Typically Cost Less Than Other Housing Types

Manufactured housing offers a low-cost alternative to site-built homes for millions of American households. But multiple obstacles could further curtail manufactured home lending and threaten to prolong the depression in manufactured housing production, thereby further diminishing a significant source of low-cost housing.

Read the latest edition of Housing Insights to find out what contributed to this decline and the many obstacles a revival of manufactured housing production faces.

Patrick Simmons
Director, Strategic Planning
Economic & Strategic Research Group

June 27, 2013

The author thanks Peter Scherer and Stephen Wheeler of HAS Capital and Doug Duncan and Orawin Velz of Fannie Mae for valuable comments in the creation of this Housing Insights. Of course, all errors and omissions remain the responsibility of the author.

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