Q: What is a manufactured home?

A: Manufactured Homes are built entirely in a factory under the federal building code administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These homes are constructed to meet the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standard Act of June 15, 1976. The federal standards regulate manufactured housing design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and quality. The HUD Code also sets performance standards for the heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical systems. HUD is the only federally-regulated national building code. Each home or segment of a home is labeled with a red tag that is the manufacturer’s guarantee the home was built to conform to the HUD code. On-site additions, such as garages, decks and porches, often add to the attractiveness of manufactured homes and must be built to local, state or regional building codes.

Manufactured homes generally come in single or two-section units and their dimensions range from 8 feet or more wide and 40 feet or more long. Manufactured homes can be placed on a basement and include multiwides and expandable manufactured homes. Excluded are travel trailers, motor homes, and modular housing.

Q: What is the difference between manufactured homes and mobile homes?

A: The term Mobile Homes is often used interchangeably with the term Manufactured Homes but in fact they mean quite different things. Mobile Homes refers to homes built prior to 1976 when the HUD code governing building standards for factory-built homes was instituted, greatly improving quality standards. Homes built from that year on should, technically, no longer be referred to as Mobile Homes but instead are Manufactured Homes and are built to a higher standard of quality than yesterday’s “Mobile Homes” and, in fact, often featured better quality construction than site-built homes . But, by whatever name, today’s factory-built homes are a great option for the most home for your dollar!

Q: How affordable are manufactured homes compared to site-built homes?

A: Compared to site-built (traditional stick-frame) homes, manufactured homes are about half the cost per square foot. In 1998 the average sales price of a manufactured home in the U.S. was $52,300. The average cost per square foot was $30.21. By comparison the average cost of a single-family site-built home was $136,425 excluding land costs and the cost per square foot (excluding land) was $62.29.

The efficiencies of building homes in factories rather than on-site allow manufactured homes to match or beat the quality of site-built homes for a fraction of the cost.