I am struck by the extreme range and contrast of housing development beyond traditional on-site construction. From mobile homes on the low end to art-like pre-fab homes on the high end.
Single-wide, double-wide, wide-load
The mobile home market, which often represents the lower end of the housing demographic, is seeing particular hardship right now in the availability of financing. It is sort of a a hybrid of real estate and chattel (personal property).
In the development of mobile home parks it is not unusual for the home owner to be situated on leased land, something not generally done in traditional home building. Pre-fab homes (the kind you see being hauled in two halves on semi-tricks) are generally lumped into the same category. A few years ago there was a meltdown in the manufactured home mortgage market so now the new housing law directs Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to come up with new loan products and flexible underwriting standards for manufactured homes. Don’t count on it.
Tubes on stilts
On the other end of the spectrum, pre-fab housing is seen as making a statement, an artistic interpretation of housing. The exception would be the type where the art/brand transcends the house, like the Frank Lloyd Wright utilitarian homes scattered throughout the midwest and Levittown. Long since bastardized to match today’s living standards. Worthy of the Museum of Modern Art, the emphasis is placed on design over functionality and practicality.
And of course, The Haute Couture of Suburbia
Little pink houses for you and me. And while we are thinking rock n roll, here’s proof that the wheels really coming off the wagon.