This was an interesting year at The International Builders Show – attendees seemed to be more intrigued with the factory built homes presented by Palm Harbor and Nationwide Homes than the ones the were built using traditional forms of construction.
Kevin Flaherty, VP of Marketing For Genesis and Champion Home Builders teamed up with Paul Emrath, VP for Survey and Housing Policy Research at NAHB to lead a press conference on Characteristics of Modular Homes. Kevin is also Vice Chairman for the Building Systems Council of NAHB and did a great job presenting why modular housing will continue to be a preferred way to build.
Flaherty stated that “builders are looking for new solutions in today’s challenging economic climate. When homeowners choose modular construction, as they often do, they experience measurable savings in cost and time.”
Emrath shared statistics on how the cost and time savings can be measured with the U.S. Census Bureau’s data on housing starts. “The Census Bureau publishes characteristics of new housing, but typically doesn’t show detail for modular homes. By tabulating the Census data ourselves, we can see the characteristics of today’s modular homes in some detail, and compare modular to site built construction.”
The data shows that average start to completion time for a modular home is 5 months currently compared to 6.9 months for a site-built (or as Flaherty called them open air constructed – love that!) home. When I asked Flaherty how long it takes for a modular home to be actually built on one of the Genesis and Champion manufacturing facilities, he said that it typically takes two weeks of plant time for the home to be constructed, but some of their facilities are capable of building 9 homes a day!
So what are the characteristics of a modular home? Expect to find a home that is:
*Green – factory built housing has a lot less waste and the facilities to extensive recycling.
*Well Constructed – modular homes tend to be a “tighter build” due to the benefits of building in a controlled environment.
*Cost Effective – modular construction can offer great cost savings when labor isn’t available in an area and when it’s a hard area to build in.
Mr. Flaherty also brought up the fact that more private equity companies are getting involved in modular housing because they see the potential. That to me is a great sign that this is a trend that will continue to grow.