With some states introducing legislation to allow manufactured housing in all residential neighborhoods to ease the affordable housing crisis, isn’t it ironic that a group of modular housing factories has approached HUD to allow them to build homes that fall under Federal regulations?
Talking with modular factory owners across the country, there is a movement beginning away from building codes that are written to ever-increasing higher standards that aren’t Federally regulated. HUD is the only building code recognized and enforced nationally.
All the other housing codes are put into place by local and state governments at the whim of state legislatures.
ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, had this to say about the affordable housing situation facing most of the country:
What is next for America’s housing market?
On the one hand, unemployment is down to a 53-year low, and 500,000 jobs were added in January. On the other hand, millions have stopped looking for work, wage increases are not keeping up with inflation, mortgage rates are still above 6%, and the Federal Reserve has signaled that it is willing to continue increasing rates.
What is certain in the housing market is the continued presence of a housing shortage, which some put as high as 5 million homes. With such a large shortage, it is unsurprising that housing prices increased for a record-breaking 130 consecutive months, despite wages effectively decreasing.
This combination of scarce housing availability and trailing wages puts pressure on individuals and families to widen their search for affordable housing. Unfortunately, affordable housing is all too rare in the urban centers that have the most and highest paying job opportunities. This means that even as employers try to attract new workers, workers are moving further away due to expensive urban housing.
States are taking notice, and housing reform proposals are making their way through state legislatures. For example, both Maine and Montana have legislation this year that eases or eliminates restrictions on manufactured homes, with Montana’s requiring that manufactured housing be “treated the same as other types of conventional housing allowed in a zoning district.”
A new category of off-site built housing, called CrossMod® homes
ALEC’s Commerce, Insurance, and Economic Development Task Force passed a similarly-aimed model policy, the Factory-Built Housing Act. This model policy aims at increasing the supply of low-cost housing by allowing factory-built homes to be built/installed in any areas zoned for single-family residential dwellings.
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Gary Fleisher, Contributing Editor