Winter 2002, Volume 11, Number 3

in community and economic development
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Volume 11, Number 3
Winter 2002

In This Issue

Manufactured Housing Overview

Financing Options

Industry Perspective – Current Trends

Legislative Initiatives

Manufactured Housing Resources

About this issue

Manufactured Housing Finance

The manufactured housing industry in the United States, and particularly in the South, has seen dramatic growth in the past 25 years. Recent statistics show nearly 9 million manufactured homes nationwide housing 21.4 million residents, or 7.6 percent of the U.S. population.

As real estate and construction costs have increased, manufactured housing is increasingly considered an affordable housing option, particularly for low- and moderate-income households. However, the demographics of buyers are changing to also include middle- and upper-income families who are attracted to the added value of manufactured housing and the innovative communities that developers are building.

Manufactured housing is typically associated with non-metropolitan areas. However, with new design innovations and quality standards that now meet or exceed most building codes, it could become an acceptable option for some urban areas. Many new manufactured homes are as large or larger than typical site-built homes, and with some of the design improvements available, most people would be hard pressed to tell the difference anymore. The new homes are a far cry from the old "trailer" stereotype.

This issue of Partners seeks to shed more light on the subject of manufactured housing, particularly in terms of financing. While not everyone has a positive opinion of this type of housing, the statistics speak for themselves as to public demand and the housing niche it fills. Millions of families are already purchasing manufactured homes, and we in Community Affairs want them to have as much information as possible in making their decision—especially when it comes to the financing piece.

The subject of manufactured housing is very broad, and it's difficult to cover all aspects even within financing. So to help keep this publication focused and meaningful, we first discuss what manufactured housing is and provide an overview of the industry. We then provide an analysis of financing issues, including financing options and the influence of government and secondary markets. To provide added objectivity, we feature an industry perspective, and then close with legislative initiatives.

The research and content of this issue is largely the work of Jessica LeVeen. Michael Milner also provided a significant contribution to the research and writing for this issue. Jessica is the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's liaison at our Nashville, Tennessee branch, and Mike is the representative at our Birmingham, Alabama branch. Both have developed an expertise in the subject.

We hope you find this subject interesting and enlightening. We can be sure we will be hearing more and more about manufactured housing in the future.

- Editor