Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Satisfaction with Manufactured Housing

Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Satisfaction with Manufactured Housing

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Recent improvements in the structure and design of manufactured homes warrant a reevaluation of their quality and satisfaction as viewed by residents. This study compared characteristics of residents of single-section and double-section homes and their satisfaction with their units. The study revealed that single-section residents had lower incomes, were younger, tended to rent the units and lived in older units. Double-section residents reported higher satisfaction with space, design, and ease of use. Recommended improvements were for storm safety, quality, and durability Results provide information for family and consumer sciences professionals to share with prospective manufactured-housing buyers.

Manufactured housing` is the fastest growing segment of the American housing market and provides an affordable housing alternafive for many people (Vermeer & Louie, 1997). As of July, 1997, manufactured housing represented about 30% of all new housing sales. As an affordable housing alternafive, these homes often sell for three to five times less than the average purchase price of new site-built housing. Purchase price figures for 1996 reveal that the average sales price of new single-section units was $28,200 and $47,300 for new double-section units, compared to an average purchase price of $124,6502 for new site-built housing. These price levels place manufactured housing in reach of the majority of the American households (U.S. Department of Commerce, 1997; Manufactured Housing Institute, 1997-98).

Despite the affordable home ownership opportunities with this type of housing, manufactured housing has been criticized for lack of wind resistance and for poor construction. Manufactured housing is regulated through the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards administered by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is frequently referred to as the HUD Code. Recent changes to the HUD Code have increased requirements for wind resistance, energy efficiency, and durability of this housing (Vermeer & Louie, 1997). Specifically, wind resistance requirements have been increased for coastal and other areas of the country with history of high storm winds. Energy efficiency standards have increased the wall, floor, and ceiling insulation requirements to offset the unusually high energy consumption of older manufactured units. Building material usage affecting durability has improved with several companies replacing thin and less durable wall material with wallboard conventionally used in site-built housing.

As a result of the changes in the HUD Code standards and other changes in the manufactured housing industry, manufactured housing has matured as a housing alternative. Terms such as "house trailer" and "homes on wheels" have given way appropriately to the new term "manufactured housing" (Foremost Insurance Company, 1996; Allen, 1998) . Manufactured homes now come in a variety of sizes and designs that make them attractive choices to a growing number of Americans who want to own their own homes. Despite the change in the image and real quality, prospective purchasers continue to be influenced by older existing units and may not truly be aware of the changes in construction, materials, and energy efficiency of manufactured housing.

One of the most important distinctions to consider about manufactured homes is how different are single-section from double-section homes. In recent years, double-section manufactured homes have become more like traditionally built homes with respect to size, features, and durability. In comparison with single-section homes, double-section units may no longer be fairly compared as a unit made of two single-sections. Obviously, doublesection units are larger and more similar in layout to conventional housing. Double-section manufactured housing can also be multi-sectional to become an "L" shape and can also have a second story. …

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