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.