Factory-made homes get a push with Washington showcase

Builders say manufactured homes can be built faster and cheaper

National Weekend Edition /
Jun.June 18, 2022 03:00 PM
Secretary Marcia L. Fudge (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

Secretary Marcia L. Fudge (Getty Images, iStock/Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal)

Could your next home come from a factory?

That was the idea behind a three-day showcase at the National Mall in Washington, where industry and government officials touted manufactured homes as a cheaper and faster way to build affordable homes, Bloomberg reported.

One example, a frame for a two-story house took just nine hours to erect, compared with weeks for a traditional home. Another, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, entry-level Pegasus model from UMH Properties, is 1,035 square feet and features marble countertops, stainless steel appliances and a farm-style sink. It was built by Cavco and Fleetwood Homes.

In addition to the surprisingly normal-looking homes, some of which were assembled on site the night before, the event also featured an $800,000 3D printer that can print entire houses from concrete.

“We just can’t continue to build the houses we grew up in,” US Housing Secretary Marcia L. Fudge told Bloomberg. “These houses are more efficient, more resilient. But the other thing is, we need so much new housing. These can be built quickly, installed quickly. They are at a great cost point. And so it is a big part of the solution.”

The White House is working toward making manufactured houses a more viable option for renters and first-time homebuyers, as they were decades ago. The Biden administration announced in May multiple initiatives to expand the number of backyard flats, modular homes and single-family homes produced across the country.

“We need people to accept that these homes will last as long as any conventional house, and therefore we’re entitled to the same financing,” UMH CEO Samuel Landy told the outlet. “We’ve really made a lot of headway on that.”

The main takeaway from the three-day event was that manufactured homes can be built at more affordable rates. Since they’re built at scale and assembled on site, the costs of labor and materials can be cut significantly.

[BB] — Victoria Pruitt





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