Modular vs. Manufactured Properties: What¡¯s the Distinction?

by Bewealth

So that you need to construct a brand new dwelling ¡ª however you¡¯ve obtained sticker shock. In researching cost-effective choices, you will have found modular and manufactured properties.

These dwelling varieties are sometimes extra inexpensive than conventional new building, often known as ¡°site-built¡± properties. The Manufactured Housing Institute stories {that a} manufactured dwelling prices half as a lot per sq. foot as a site-built dwelling. For modular builds, a 2017 examine by the Terner Middle for Housing Innovation on the College of California, Berkeley estimates building financial savings of at the least 20%.

Relying on land prices and the mannequin you select, a brand new manufactured or modular construct may even value lower than the typical current dwelling.

Modular and manufactured properties are each sorts of prefabricated, or ¡°prefab,¡± properties. Which means they¡¯re constructed indoors at a manufacturing unit, then transported to the constructing website. However simply because they each begin out in a manufacturing unit doesn¡¯t imply they¡¯re the identical factor.

Let¡¯s discover the variations between these two dwelling varieties.

Definitions: Modular vs. manufactured properties

What’s a modular dwelling?

A modular house is factory-built in giant, three-dimensional items often known as modules. When the modules depart the manufacturing unit, they’re as much as 90% full. The ending touches occur on the constructing website, the place the modules are hooked up to a everlasting basis and one another. Then, the completed house is inspected to make sure it meets native constructing codes.

What’s a manufactured dwelling?

A manufactured house is what you may consider once you hear the time period ¡°cellular dwelling¡± or ¡°trailer.¡± Nevertheless, that terminology is taken into account outdated. At this time¡¯s manufactured properties are available in a variety of designs and kinds.

Like modular properties, manufactured properties are in-built factories. Relying on their measurement, they’re transported to the constructing website in a single piece, often known as a single-wide, or a number of items, often known as a double- or triple-wide.

In contrast to modular properties, manufactured properties are hooked up to a everlasting chassis. It is a steel body that may be hooked up to wheels; that¡¯s the place the time period ¡°cellular dwelling¡± comes from. The chassis can’t be eliminated, however you possibly can take away or cowl up the wheels.

Manufactured properties are constructed to nationwide constructing requirements set by the U.S. Division of Housing and City Improvement (HUD), known as the HUD Code.

Do you know…

Technically, the time period ¡°cellular dwelling¡± solely applies to factory-constructed properties constructed previous to June 15, 1976. That¡¯s when the HUD Code went into impact. The HUD Code set federal requirements for security and sturdiness of manufactured properties.

Execs, cons and variations

In comparison with new site-built building, modular and manufactured properties are a extra inexpensive path to homeownership. Listed here are some issues to contemplate when deciding between the 2:

  • Price and resale worth: A manufactured dwelling sometimes prices lower than a modular dwelling. Whereas manufactured properties have come a good distance by way of high quality, they nonetheless can depreciate in worth over time, much like an vehicle. Modular properties usually change in worth with the market much like site-built properties.

  • Constructing codes: Manufactured properties are constructed to the HUD Code. Modular properties comply with the identical state and native constructing codes as site-built homes.

  • Dimension and sturdiness: Obtainable sizes range, though modular properties provide extra potential to customise layouts. Manufactured properties don¡¯t maintain up as properly in excessive winds or hurricanes in comparison with modular properties.?

  • Portability: Manufactured properties should be affixed to a metal chassis. Relying on their measurement, they are often constructed and transported in full from the manufacturing unit. Modular properties shouldn’t have a chassis. They’re in-built items, transported and assembled on-site.

  • Building effectivity: Modular and manufactured properties share some benefits over site-built properties. Indoor building just about eliminates climate delays. Meeting-line building can also be quicker and cheaper. Much less building waste saves dwelling patrons cash, and with effectivity good points, you¡¯ll probably transfer in sooner.

Loans and financing

Modular properties

Whereas a modular house is being constructed, you might need to make up-front or installment funds to the builder. These may be paid in money or via a building mortgage. As soon as building is full on a modular dwelling, it may be financed with a standard mortgage ¡ª identical to a site-built dwelling.

Manufactured properties

Manufactured properties should not at all times eligible for conventional mortgages. Listed here are some choices:

  • Conventional mortgages: To qualify for a mortgage, you have to personal the underlying land and have the manufactured dwelling titled as actual property.?

  • FHA Title 1 loans: If your house doesn¡¯t qualify for a mortgage, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) gives Title 1 loans to finance manufactured properties. With an FHA Title 1 mortgage, the client is permitted to lease the land the place the house resides, resembling in a manufactured dwelling neighborhood ¡ª generally known as a cellular dwelling park.

  • Chattel loans: Usually, patrons finance manufactured properties utilizing chattel loans. A chattel mortgage is a direct type of financing for private property, much like an auto mortgage. Nevertheless, these loans sometimes have increased rates of interest than conventional mortgages. The Client Monetary Safety Bureau stories that round 42% of manufactured dwelling house owners use a chattel mortgage to finance their buy.

Abstract: Key variations

Manufactured dwelling

Modular dwelling

Website-built dwelling

Price to construct




Kind of basis

Semipermanent (e.g. pier and floor anchors) or everlasting.




Sure. (Has a chassis that may be hooked up to wheels to maneuver the house.)

No. (As soon as modules are delivered, they’re completely hooked up to one another and the muse.)

No. (Constructed fully on-site.)

Constructing code

HUD code.

Worldwide Residential Code (native constructing codes).

Worldwide Residential Code (native constructing codes).

Choices to customise

Much less.




Much less.



Financing (after building)

Chattel mortgage, FHA Title 1 mortgage or conventional mortgage.

Conventional mortgage.

Conventional mortgage.

Worth over time

Usually decreases.

Usually will increase.

Usually will increase.

Modular vs. manufactured: Which is true for me?

A manufactured house is inexpensive and might get you to your purpose of homeownership sooner, particularly should you stay in a rural space the place inexpensive housing is scarce. Citing March 2023 knowledge, the U.S. Census Bureau stories that the typical value of a brand new manufactured house is $124,700. Nevertheless, future dwelling fairness is much less predictable for manufactured properties. Usually, their worth depreciates over time. However it additionally might maintain regular, relying in your native actual property market. Different components, resembling should you personal the land beneath ¡ª and the way you panorama it ¡ª have an effect on long-term worth, too.

A modular house is a bigger up-front funding, however the dwelling worth sometimes grows over time, like that of a site-built dwelling. Modular building is sturdier than that of manufactured properties, too. For those who finance a modular dwelling utilizing a building mortgage, you may want a better credit score rating and decrease debt-to-income ratio to qualify, in comparison with credit score rating necessities to purchase an current dwelling. That¡¯s since you don¡¯t have a completed dwelling to make use of as collateral, like you possibly can in a standard mortgage.

? MORE: Finest building mortgage lenders

Alternate options to modular and manufactured properties

For those who¡¯re in search of an inexpensive path to homeownership, listed here are different choices to contemplate:

  • Townhouses or condominiums: For those who don¡¯t thoughts sharing partitions together with your neighbors, shopping for a townhouse or condominium may help you construct fairness at an inexpensive worth level. You might need to pay householders affiliation charges, although, so account for that when budgeting.

  • Website-built properties: For those who¡¯re dedicated to a brand new construct, you¡¯ll pay extra per sq. foot for conventional building in comparison with a modular or manufactured dwelling. Nevertheless, you possibly can reduce prices by constructing a smaller dwelling and choosing modest finishes.

  • Tiny homes: Sized round 400 sq. toes or much less, tiny homes may be set on wheels or a everlasting basis. Minimalist residing is a life-style shift, so contemplate the professionals and cons earlier than you downsize.

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