With gas prices tumbling, employment levels rising and forecasters predicting several years of strong economic growth, a feel good factor is emerging across America. For the first time in what seems like a long time, people are enjoying greater financial freedom and are making plans for the future.
One of the biggest investments for most families is their home. While the housing market meltdown of the recession caused havoc across the country, people are now putting that era behind them and looking forward to a revival in home ownership. The question now is what type of home to invest in? Are bricks and mortar buildings the safe bet they once were, or are mobile homes the residence of choice for the future? Here we examine the pros and cons of each of these options.
The Site-Built Home
The traditional style bricks and mortar house is still a popular choice for many American families. For some it is quite simply what they have always expected to buy, following in the footsteps of previous generations. Other purchasers are perhaps the first in their family to buy their own home, so their plans are based on long held aspiration. In reality though, many have seen the shine go off the traditional housing market and now fear the level of commitment required to access this type of home. With house prices on the rise and good housing stock short in supply in some areas, it is perhaps not surprising that families are thinking long and hard before parting with their hard earned cash. Mortgage application levels remain stubbornly low despite attractive interest rates; showing potential home buyers remain reluctant to jump in to the traditional house buying market.
Commentators cite a number of causal factors when it comes to the slow burn of the traditional housing revival. Many of these issues relate to availability of money from lenders which up until recently has been limited, and overall affordability. Yet one of the key, less talked about components instrumental in the current stand-off is in fact the lack of suitable houses on the market. The issue of availability is becoming a major problem for realtors and homebuyers alike.
During the housing boom, the number of vacant homes rose well above the normal level, but since the crash there has been a significant correction in this area. The legacy of a recession driven inactive homebuilding sector is now beginning to take effect. Added to this is the issue of obsolete homes – those which lack the characteristics sought by current buyers. These include homes situated in unpopular locations or neighborhoods which lack the amenities which people want and expect.
The Manufactured Home
With so many issues relating to affordability and availability it is hardly surprising that an increasing number of home buyers are turning their attention to the mobile or manufactured home market. An estimated 20 million Americans have already made the move towards mobile. Some states, such as South Carolina, report that this type of housing is so popular it represents an impressive 20 percent of the overall residential market.
While the manufactured home market may have had its critics in the past, most housing experts now recognize the wide range of advantages associated with these very modern dwellings. Today’s manufactured home industry is innovative and vibrant, offering the best aspects of a traditional home at a lower price and with increased flexibility. Buyers of all budgets are latching on to these benefits, with stars such as Minnie Driver, Pamela Anderson and Matthew McConaughey just a few of the many famous manufactured home owners.
Manufactured homes are estimated to account of over 6% of the US housing sector and cater for the needs of all stages and ages in life. Around 57% of the people who live in manufactured homes are in full time jobs while approximately 23% are retired, showing how flexible this form of accommodation can be. Homes are available in most states and offer a community feel to living which is attractive to many. Buyers tend to pay about one third of the price they would have to stretch to if purchasing a fixed, traditional style home.
Many park complexes, on which the manufactured homes are sited, offer a range of amenities such as community playgrounds, sporting facilities and picnic areas. The homes themselves come in a range of finishes and can be easily adapted to meet the needs of the occupants. As well as being affordable to buy and adapt, the homes are equally cost-effective to live in. Energy costs tend to be lower, especially in homes which are Energy Star certified and contain features such as high performance windows, energy efficient heating and cooling systems and effective insulation.
Weighing up the pros and cons it is hard to ignore the many benefits of a manufactured home, but whatever option you eventually choose remember, there’s no place like home!
This is a freelance article from the talented Gemma Hibbert.
Thank you so much for reading Mobile Home Living!
Image Sources: Skyline Homes