Discussion Forum Topic:

Don’t be Confused by a “Hudular” Home
Original Comment:
Before you build your home, be sure to ask your contractor this important question: “To what building code will my home be constructed?”

Every state in the U.S. has adopted some version of the base model International Residential Code (IRC) for new home construction requirements. The base model codes are developed every three years and states have the right to adopt and amend these codes to meet their local needs. Some states such as Maryland, are on the most current 2018 version of the IRC, while other states are using the 2015, or 2012 versions.

All site built and modular homes must meet the state and local building codes in effect where the home will be located. A manufactured home, on the other hand, is built to the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Code. To address the affordable housing shortfall, the HUD code homes are built to a less robust and resilient standard and are therefore deemed to be more affordable. This is a federal “pre-emptive” code meaning these manufactured housing units must be accepted in all states. States and localities do have the right to determine WHERE these units can be located through zoning requirements.

Now this all seems pretty clear and straightforward, until a recent move by some in the manufactured housing industry. In an effort to obtain more conventional mortgage financing through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, some manufactured housing companies have developed what is being referred to as “next generation” manufactured homes. These new homes are still built to the HUD code, but with some enhanced features such as pitched roofs and drywall.

To be clear, we have no issue with manufactured housing. The industry has provided quality living accommodations to countless thousands of families over the last several decades. And if you want a manufactured home, by all means you should get one.

But this latest move causes some serious concerns. For starters, the cost of these next gen manufactured homes is roughly equivalent to a basic IRC compliant site built or modular home, which begs the question – why not just build to the IRC? Another potential issue is that these HUD code homes, once placed in a community, can be used as “comps” for appraisers when evaluating modular or site-built homes, even though they are not built to the same codes. Lastly, what will become of the current generation of manufactured homes if next generation homes succeed? Will they be further frowned upon in communities, creating even greater hardships for lower income families?

We sometimes struggle to educate the general public between the differences between a manufactured home and a home built using modular construction techniques. This latest move won’t help.

If your builder can't or won't answer that first question, you should consider finding a new builder! We know a few - give us a call.
Started on June 27, 2019 by Tom Hardiman
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