In , there were plants building manufactured homes. By , the number was factories and it just kept decreasing. By , we had 79 manufactured home builders running production lines across the country. John Grissim, author of the popular Grissim Ratings Guide to Manufactured Homes says the number fell to 61 companies and plants by This list is a great place to start searching for your next manufactured home. Just click on the name of the company to visit their site.
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Note: Annually at the beginning of the year I offer here my assessment of the manufactured housing landscape along with a few suggestions to help home shoppers—especially first-time buyers— better understand the market conditions they will likely face in the next 12 months.
This year arrives at an interesting moment in the history of the manufactured housing industry. Here, ten years after the Great Recession of , the industry has finally emerged from an unprecedented—and painful—shake-out following the financial crisis and the crash of the entire US housing sector.
To give you some idea, in there were 79 manufactured home builders running production lines. These figures suggest the industry today is significantly smaller and less robust, but this impression is misleading. Prior to the recession, the manufactured home industry MH, for short was already facing a growing problem. Many companies found themselves burdened with way more production lines and factories than the market demanded, putting them on a shaky financial footing. Adding to this bloat of overcapacity was an overcrowded marketplace.
When the recession hit, most of these overextended companies went under, or, in several instances, were bought out by stronger companies. Altogether, by the time the dust settled, 18 builders, some of them venerable names with reputations for high quality homes, were gone.
The upside is, by , the MH industry is generally in much better shape, having corrected its over-capacity problem and re-sized to reflect market demand. It can fairly be characterized as run by companies that are on the whole financially stable, better-managed, market savvy, and much more customer-centric than at any time in its previous history.
This bodes well for today's manufactured home buyer. There is one development that informed home shoppers will find useful to know. Over the past decade mergers and acquisitions led to significant consolidation. In fact, if you count its numerous subsidiary companies building modular-code homes and multi-family dwellings, Clayton, itself a subsidiary of Warren Buffet's holding company Berkshire Hathaway, is now the largest home builder in the U.
Worth noting is that Clayton Homes, Inc. In fact, annual combined profit from the two banks significantly exceeds that from the total of homes sold from Clayton and its many subsidiary builders. Nationally, housing including manufactured homes, or MH in this report is poised for continued growth in Economists predict an acceleration of that growth over the next two years.
Unlike the site-built housing industry which crashed with the Great Recession of , manufactured housing had already experienced the collapse of its own housing bubble. Starting in when just over , manufactured homes were produced, the number declined by nearly 80 percent, and continued after the recession hit.
The period to was especially brutal, with total home sales dropping 65 percent, from about , to just over 50, In , the MH production numbers finally turned around and have continued their upward trend.
In the year just ended, the number of manufactured homes produced in totaled 92,, up from 's total of 81, These are healthy numbers, and by year's end the total could reach the benchmark number of , With the national economy showing continued strong recovery and very low unemployment, the MH industry is once again doing very well, but the increased consumer demand means many, if not most, production lines are operating at capacity.
This means longer build times for customer orders. The typical four-to-six week lead time has in many cases grown to seven-to-ten weeks or longer. In addition, many builders are experiencing labor shortages due to competition from better-paying jobs. In sum, home-buyers should be prepared for longer build times.
Be sure to ask sales people about the build lead times for their homes. Here's a breakdown of several regions , again, using figures for December Prices are in dollars:.
Region Total Single Double Northeast 76, 49, , Midwest 64, 48, 84, South 70, 54, 89, West 96, 58, , As these numbers indicate, prices can vary considerably by region and state.
This disparity is largely due to consumer demographics. Texas consumers, like MH buyers in much of the Sunbelt states, are lower-income, entry-level home-buyers for whom low-cost affordability is the primary concern, whereas California MH homebuyers tend to be from a higher income bracket and able to afford both upscale options and the higher quality construction features of the most popular models.
The short answer: yes, but largely incremental. Inevitably, high consumer demand and maxed out production capacity, coupled with increased costs of building materials means a higher price tag. The regional market is also a factor, especially in Texas and Florida, given the major demand for home replacements in the aftermath of last August's hurricanes Harvey and Irma. How much of a price increase you'll encounter depends on the model and build quality. Having said this, I would add that I am no elitist.
I will never disparage low-end manufactured homes per se, because they answer a huge need. One of the great things about manufactured housing is that it can provide basic shelter for those who otherwise would have no home at all. If properly sited and well-cared for, even the most humble single-section home can be decent affordable housing. Shoot for a Grissim construction rating of at least 7.
Bear in mind you can start with a home model that has a 5 or a 6 rating and add options as necessary e. Both my guides contain a table that breaks down construction features that can help you with your choices. Here's why:. Modular code homes are built to local site-built building codes and are considered by mortgage lenders as identical to site-built homes.
You'll have an easier time getting financing, and very likely at a lower interest rate, the savings from which will go a long way to paying for your higher purchase cost. When the time comes to sell, your home will not be regarded as "a used mobile home," with the negative perception that comes with it including a low resale price. Rather, your home will be regarded as "an existing residential home," just another real estate listing. You'll get a higher price and the buyer will have an easier time getting financing.
And there you have it. MH industry's revival—key take-aways for home shoppers With the national economy showing continued strong recovery and very low unemployment, the MH industry is once again doing very well, but the increased consumer demand means many, if not most, production lines are operating at capacity.
Prices are in dollars: Region Total Single Double Northeast 76, 49, , Midwest 64, 48, 84, South 70, 54, 89, West 96, 58, , As these numbers indicate, prices can vary considerably by region and state.
Higher retail prices in ? Thus, these recommendation: 1. Here's why: Modular code homes are built to local site-built building codes and are considered by mortgage lenders as identical to site-built homes.
Wishing you the best of luck with your home search.
The Grissim Guides to Manufactured Homes and Land
From Rainshadow Publications, the two most comprehensive, trusted and authoritative guides to manufactured homes, written by veteran journalist and author John Grissim. This year marks the 14th. Here you will find a fair amount of useful information, including some that many manufacturers would prefer you not know. The goal is not just to sell books but to assist you with your research and to help you be informed, empowered, and confident as you make the many decisions involved in the purchase of your new home. Note: As a journalist for more than three decades, maintaining my credibility is important. Accordingly, other than income derived from the sale of my books, I neither solicit nor accept a dime nor gifts or freebies from the industry about which I write. My readers have my assurance I intend to keep it that way.
ISBN 13: 9780972543637
This second edition is completely revised, updated and expanded, and is designed to be the essential companion resource of the author's second consumer book, The Grissim Ratings Guide to Manufactured Homes, published in March, 2. John Grissim. The authoritative consumer guide to manufactured homes and purchasing land or leasing a home site, providing up-to-date, essential information home buyers need to make an informed purchase decision. This second edition of the bestselling guide is completely revised and updated, including a new annotated construction rating table with 56 criteria you can use to evaluate any home'before you buy. In this comprehensive book, John Grissim, author of the best-selling companion resource, The Grissim Ratings Guide to Manufactured Homes, gives you everything you need to safely'and successfully'navigate the tricky waters of the manufactured home marketplace. He explains how the manufactured home industry operates, how to find a dealer worthy of your trust, how to make the right home selection, and, as important, how to be informed, empowered and swindle-proof. Exahustively researched, with extensive input from both industry insiders and consumer advocates, this guide contains much information that retailers, even the good guys, don't want you to know.
ISBN 13: 9780972543613
With this second edition of the most comprehensive ratings guide to every manufactured home builder in the U. Scores of brands and series are described. Plus, an annotated construction chart with 56 criteria you can use to evaluate any home—before you buy. Note: Grissim, a journalist for more than three decades, is fiercely protective of his professional credibility. Accordingly, other than income derived from the sale of his books, he neither solicits nor accepts a dime nor gifts or freebies from the industry about which he writes. His readers have his assurance he intends to keep it that way. In the absence of any guide that described and rated all U.