Is that a HUD Code or Modular Home?

Which of these two homes is built to the so called modular codes, and which one to the HUD Codes? Is it important? Not sure?



The manufactured housing industry many years ago divided into two parts: recreational vehicles, and permanent housing. Recreational vehicles including motor homes, travel trailers, and park models have done fairly well in recent years. Their target markets are for secondary housing, and for the most part are not intended to be for long term, permanent housing.

The permanent housing segment of the manufactured housing industry has also divided into two parts: HUD code and modular. Although homes built to the HUD codes are much less expensive, there has been a trend towards using modular construction albeit more expensive housing to satisfy consumers wants and needs.

Why is this thought to be necessary?

There are two significant reasons: zoning and land use restrictions restrict the placement of HUD code homes in many jurisdictions, and generally better home financing for so-called modulars, however in the land-home case for HUD code homes, financing rates and terms are generally on a par with those of site built homes. When a HUD Code home is sited in a land lease community as chattel or personal property however, the financing terms are somewhat more onerous.

It is a common error for un-knowledgeable persons to presume that because a home looks less like a trailer, and more like a site built home, then it must be a modular. Building codes for modulars may include IBC, BOCA, UBC, SBCC, and many others and are not uniformly applied in all jurisdictions, hence widely varying construction standards by jurisdiction. In fact, there is almost no meaningful feature of a single family detached factory built HUD code home which may not be built to be virtually the same as a modular, with the exception of the lower price.

As a community development consultant, one of my favorite subjects over the years has been telling developers and prospective homeowners that a home doesn’t have to be built to the modular codes to look like a site built home. And, the HUD Code homes are from 15% to 25% less expensive, with all the same features.
Communities such as Saddlebrook in Illinois, Riverside Club in Florida, Lakeside in North Carolina, or Kloshe Illahe in Washington, etc. are examples of land lease communities which feature HUD code homes which look like site built. Many un-informed therefore assume they are modulars, but it isn’t so. And, often the sales staff will tell a little white lie “they are factory built to modular standards and features” but actually are HUD Code built with the same standards and features as modulars, but are not built to the modular codes.

Confusing? You bet it is.

Why the price difference? It’s a good question. I have been the sales manager for two different high end home manufacturers who build both HUD and modular homes, and the truth be known, it doesn’t have to be so. Terry Decio, President of Skyline Homes so eloquently also said so in his speech at the 2004 George Allen Round Table in Phoenix, AZ.

If a salesperson misstated a homes construction as a modular rather than a HUD code home, then either they didn’t understand the question, or they took the easy way out. Rather than go into the technical differences between a HUD code home and so-called modulars, it is easiest just to say they are modulars.
Fleetwood still has a black and white booklet which shows a comparison of various building codes, which is available through MHI. if you go over it with a fine tooth comb, there are very few real, meaningful differences between them, and even in some cases, the HUD codes are stronger or more restrictive.

Oh, which of the two is a modular . . . neither, they are both HUD code homes, virtually indinguishable to the eye.

BTW: for those who are following the progress of the FHA Title I Reform legislation, as of Friday April 11, 2008 MHI has indicated it apparently been included in Senate Housing Stimulus Bill (H.R. 3221). Let’s hope it goes through with alacrity and doesn’t get amended from its present form.

Mr. Hicks is a Senior Economic and Marketing Consultant with 45 years experience in factory built homes including RVs, HUD code, and Modular homes as a retailer, manufacturer, mortgage broker and developer. He is an FL Licensed RE and Mortgage Broker, and has held licenses in California and Maine. He may be reached at ( 813) 661- 5901 or Easteddie@aol. com His His websites are www. mobilehomepark. com/ and

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