Manufactured home.

Manufactured Homes: Definition And Cost

5-Minute Read
Published on November 5, 2020

What is a manufactured home? You’re likely already familiar with them and even grew up referring to them as “mobile homes.” However, modern manufactured homes are different from what most people envision when they think of mobile homes.

A manufactured home is built off-site and then transported and installed on-site. Though there’s often a negative stereotype that comes with manufactured houses, they are an affordable and practical way for many people to become homeowners.

What Is (And Is Not) Considered A Manufactured Home?

A manufactured home is a factory-built home that’s created off-site and then put together on a temporary chassis. In comparison, a traditional home is built on-site on a permanent foundation.

These homes are built based on standards set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The terms “manufactured home” and “mobile home” are often used interchangeably but there are key differences between the two.

Mobile homes are prebuilt homes that were created before June 15, 1976. After that, the federal HUD standards went into effect and anything built after that date is considered a manufactured home.

Modular homes are similar to manufactured homes in that they conform to the HUD’s standards. However, modular homes look more similar to standard homes and it’s hard for many people to tell the difference between the two.

And of course, there are also tiny houses, but these are not the same thing as a manufactured home. Tiny houses are actually regulated under the RV code.

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The Cost Of A Manufactured Home

The biggest reason people choose to purchase a manufactured home is that they are much more affordable than a conventional home. But just like a traditional home, the cost of a manufactured home varies depending on the type of home you buy and the size.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average price for a 1,446-square foot home is $70,600. If you choose a 1,000-square foot home, you can expect to pay around $46,700. The price savings is mostly because when you purchase a manufactured home, you’re not purchasing the land as well.

Manufactured Homes And Land Ownership

There are a lot of advantages to buying a manufactured home, but the biggest downside is that you don’t own the land your home is located on. Because of this, your manufactured home will quickly decrease in value whereas the value of the land will continue to go up.

And this has given rise to the predatory buying of manufactured home parks. According to the Financial Times, there has been a rise in big investors buying up manufactured home parks for the opportunity to turn a profit.

This has led to skyrocketing rent payments for manufactured home tenants. It also led to legislation at both the state and federal level pushing for laws that would keep wealthy investors from driving tenants out.

The nonprofit organization Resident Owned Communities USA is also working to help manufactured home communities. They’re doing this by helping these communities collectively purchase the land their manufactured homes are on.

Manufactured Homes And HUD Regulations

The HUD has strict regulations to control the quality of modern manufactured homes. Here is an overview of the HUD’s regulations:

  • Minimum of 400-square feet
  • Ceiling heights in bathrooms and rooms must be at least 7 feet
  • The ceiling in storage areas and hallways must be at least 6 feet 6 inches
  • There must be two outside doors located at least 12 feet from each other in single-wide units
  • Single-person bedrooms must have 50-square feet of floor space
  • Two-person bedrooms must have 70-square feet of floor space
  • The home must have adequate windows for ventilation

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Manufactured Home FAQS

Single Wide Vs. Double Wide: What’s The Difference?

The main difference between a single wide and double wide manufactured home is space. A single wide home is typically between 14 – 18 feet wide and between 52 – 80 feet long.

In comparison, a double wide home is between 28 – 36 feet wide and between 52 – 80 feet long. You’ll typically pay about 25% less per square foot for a single wide home than you would for a double wide.

How Are Manufactured Homes Built?

The materials used to build manufactured homes are similar to what goes into building a traditional home. This includes things like lumber framing, fiberglass insulation, and wood flooring. The difference is that for manufactured homes, these items are ordered in bulk and put together in a temperature-controlled area.

How Long Do Manufactured Homes Last?

This is a hotly debated topic but a 2018 study showed that manufactured homes should retain their value for the same length of time as traditional homes.

Would I Have To Live In A Community Of Manufactured Homes?

Manufactured homes are located in rural, urban, and suburban locations across the country. Roughly 31% of all manufactured homes are built in manufactured home communities. However, living in a manufactured home community is not a requirement.

Are Manufactured Homes More Energy Efficient?

Many newly built manufactured homes are designed to be more energy-efficient. These homes often come with energy-efficient windows and doors, added insulation, and more. It’s also possible to remodel older homes for added energy efficiency.

Do Cities Have Special Requirements For Manufactured Homes?

Yes, state regulations often require manufactured homes to be a certain size. You should check with your state’s laws regarding manufactured homes before purchasing one.

Are Manufactured Homes Safe?

Thanks to HUD regulations, manufactured homes are safer than they used to be. According to some research, properly installed manufactured homes are as safe as traditional houses during a major storm. However, manufactured homes don’t come with a basement which could make them less safe during a tornado.

How Much Does It Cost To Move When You Live In A Manufactured Home?

The cost of a move will depend on the size of your manufactured home and how far you’re moving. According to, it can cost anywhere from $1,000 up to $20,000. But if you’re moving fewer than 100 miles, you can probably move on less than $5,000.

What Are The Demographics Of Today’s Manufactured Homeowners?

Here is an overview of the demographics of manufactured homeowners:

  • The average income is $28,400
  • Fewer than 5% earn more than $100,000 per year
  • 23% are between the ages of 18 – 29
  • 22% are between the ages of 50 – 59
  • 15% are disabled or unable to work
  • Manufactured homes are most common in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Michigan, and Alabama

Key Takeaways

Manufactured homes are a safe and affordable path to homeownership for many people. Unlike previous stereotypes about mobile homes, manufactured homes are well-constructed and made of high-quality materials.

However, they do lose their value more quickly and you won’t own the land underneath your home. At this point, Quicken Loans® does not finance manufactured homes but we do provide loans for conventional homes.

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