“HUD has nearly killed the manufactured homes with their stupid regulations.”

Despite a surge in jobs in some rural states, housing hasn’t caught up, as one traditional method of meeting sudden housing demand there — manufactured housing — has floundered. One reason is the fairly recent enactment of federal regulations, say some locals [Andrew Van Dam, Washington Post/Ogden Standard-Examiner]:

In Nebraska, mobile-home retailers say it’s not just land costs that have lifted prices: It’s now more expensive to stick a mobile home into the ground. In December 2015, the Department of Housing and Urban Development began enforcing strict installation standards in Nebraska and other states that lacked local oversight.

Most notably, new homeowners are forced to spend an estimated $3,000 to $8,000 to lay a footing or foundation that will protect the home from being damaged when the ground underneath shifts as it freezes. The cost isn’t always covered by financing, which makes it unattainable to many buyers. On an entry-level home, installation cost could surpass the down payment.

Nebraska mobile-home retailers say the rules seem overzealous and appear especially cruel because the residents typically don’t own the plot of land into which they’re pouring thousands of dollars. Furthermore, the custom-built foundations aren’t guaranteed to fit the next home to use the lot, and they’ll have to go through the entire, costly process again when they move.


  • Doesn’t being on wheels protect them when the ground shifts? For many decades they just used metal sheeting around the perimeter to keep weather out from under trailers. Now federal requirements require fixed foundations? It’s not going to keep them from being taken by tornados… 😀 Guess the folks living in yurts have the idea…

    • There are two, well actually three different types of manufactured housing.

      Mobile homes, which have an integral trailer and are on wheels.

      Pre-fab homes which are manufactured in one or two pieces like a mobile home, but unlike a mobile home, prefabs don’t have their own built in trailer. They have to be installed on a concrete slab.

      Modular homes. This started in Japan, but there are a couple of companies in the US doing this now. These are built and sold as individual rooms and then assembled on the buyer’s site on a slab or full foundation.

  • I wouldn’t think that items 2 or 3 would be considered mobile past initial installation. QED, they are discussing item 1. 😀

    • 2 & 3 aren’t mobile before or after installation, but I think the problem is that the article quoted by Walter is confusing Pre-fab with mobile. Technically, a mobile home doesn’t even need a slab, you can just park it on dirt as long as you have access to the needed utility hookups.

      • Matt, the quoted article does say the residents don’t typically own the lot beneath the home, which sounds more like 1 than 2 tome. I’m assuming Nebraska’s like South Dakota, where owning a pre-fab (“manufactured home”) and the land beneath it is surprisingly common. And the prices for pre-fab here are no lower, to buy or rent, than what I think of as “real” houses.

        Modular I’ve only seen for apartments… unless the repurposed shipping container construction counts. I saw a Starbucks made of that once.