What is Manufactured Housing?

Manufactured housing (MH) is a home unit constructed primarily or entirely off-site at factories prior to being moved to a piece of property where it is set. The cost of construction per square foot is usually considerably less for manufactured housing than for traditional homes constructed on-site. Long known (perhaps somewhat pejoratively) as mobile homes, manufactured housing has come a long way in terms of style, amenities, construction quality and public perception, though it still can take the basic forms of its roots.

A subset of manufactured housing is "modular homes," or homes divided into multiple sections that are constructed off-site, then assembled like building blocks at the property. A manufactured housing unit can be as small as 500 square feet and as large as 3,000 square feet if built in a modular fashion.

Understanding Manufactured Housing (MH)

Manufactured housing (MH) generally serves a lower income bracket need in rural areas of the country. Young singles and couples, as well as retirees, comprise the core demographic for such housing. Financing a manufactured home can be different than financing a newly constructed house. If the manufactured home is purchased separately from the land on which it will sit, a personal property loan is the most common type of financing. Personal property loans carry a higher interest rate than traditional mortgages. If the manufactured home and the land are purchased together, a traditional mortgage might be available. Loan terms and programs vary from lender to lender. The Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs have manufactured-housing loan programs to promote housing affordability among the target demographic.

How Manufactured Housing is Made

As described by Cavco Industries, Inc., a leading maker of these units, manufactured housing is constructed on an assembly line, where each section is put together in stages. Depending on the size of the unit and extent of customization that a customer requests, the completion process can take several days to several weeks. Wood, steel, aluminum, copper, granite, plastic, glass, electrical wires — all the materials used for on-site home construction — go into a manufactured housing unit. When a unit is completed, it is loaded onto a flatbed truck and transported to the customer's property.