Manufactured housing is 35 to 47 percent cheaper per square foot than site-built housing!

Even with that astounding difference in numbers, the number of manufactured homes shipped each year has decreased from averaging 242,000 a year between 1977 and 1993 to just 92,500 units in 2017.

Restrictive or unavailable financing, restrictive zoning, and the view that manufactured homes do not appreciate as much as site-built homes have limited this type of housing. A recent government report, however, reveals that manufactured homes may actually appreciate at levels similar to site-built homes.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the conservator that oversees the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, recently published its extensive quarterly report on US house prices and included data on manufactured housing (MH) for the first time.

The FHFA’s new MH index, still in the experimental stage, indicates that the prices of the MH purchased by the GSEs perform similarly to those of site-built properties. Although there are limits to what the data can tell us, the index suggests a need to reevaluate the presumption that manufactured homes do not appreciate at the same rate as site-built homes.

A closer look at the FHFA index

The FHFA calculates its price indexes using a repeat sales methodology, which notes the change in prices between repeat sales of the same property. The indexes are constructed on the state level and weighted to roll up to the national index. State-level indexes were not constructed for the MH indexes, as there are fewer transactions (the sample is limited to MH loans titled as real property and guaranteed by the GSEs); the national-level indexes were formed by pooling all transactions together.

Home Price Index for Traditional and Manufactured Homes

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