Official U.S. Census Bureau Cost & Size Comparisons of New Manufactured Homes to New Single-Family Site-Built Homes – Facts for Shoppers, Affordable Housing Advocates, Public Officials, Investors & Researchers

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this most recent data set was last revised on July 12, 2022. As it reflects information from the year 2021, the facts should be accurate. The information displayed in this article will cover the years 2016 to 2021 so that affordable housing shoppers, advocates, researchers, and others will also see the trends in size, price, and placements. Following the official facts will be additional information with more MHLivingNews analysis and commentary in brief.

Note that the photos and video herein are not part of the original Census Bureau data and related report. Note too that many of the mistaken notions about manufactured housing are clarified or outright debunked in research reports that are found linked further below.


Cost & Size Comparisons:

New Manufactured Homes and New Single-Family Site-Built Homes

  2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
New Manufactured Homes
Avg. Sales Price  $ 108,100  $   87,000  $   81,900  $   78,500  $    71,900  $   70,600
Avg. Square Feet        1,497        1,471        1,448        1,438          1,426         1,446
Avg. Cost per Sq. Ft.  $     72.21  $     59.14  $     56.56  $     54.59  $      50.42  $     48.82
Avg. Sales Price  $   72,600  $   57,300  $   53,200  $   52,400  $    48,300  $   46,700
Avg. Square Feet        1,084        1,085        1,072        1,072          1,087         1,075
Avg. Cost per Sq. Ft.  $     66.97  $     52.81  $     49.63  $     48.88  $      44.43  $     43.44
Avg. Sales Price  $ 132,000  $ 108,500  $ 104,000  $   99,500  $    92,800  $   89,500
Avg. Square Feet        1,794        1,760        1,747        1,747          1,733         1,746
Avg. Cost per Sq. Ft.  $     73.58  $     61.65  $     59.53  $     51.26  $      53.55  $     51.26
Housing Starts vs. MH Shipments
(Thousands of Units)
New Single Family
Housing Starts        1,127           991           888           876            849            782
Percent of Total 91% 91% 90% 90% 90% 91%
Manufactured Home Shipments
Shipped           106             94             95             97              93             81
Percent of Total 9% 9% 10% 10% 10% 9%
Total        1,233        1,085           983           973            942            863
New Single-Family
Site-Built Homes Sold
(Home and Land Sold as Package)
Avg. Sales Price  $ 464,200  $ 391,900  $ 383,900  $ 385,000  $  384,900  $  360,900
Derived Average Land Price  $   98,296  $   83,303  $   84,485  $   87,253  $    91,173  $   82,491
Price of Structure  
Avg. Square Feet        2,544        2,527        2,518        2,602          2,645         2,650
Avg. Price per Sq Ft. (excl. land)  $   143.83  $   122.12  $   118.91  $   114.43  $    111.05  $   105.06
Manufactured Home Shipments
Total     105,772       94,390       94,615       96,555        92,902       81,136
Single-Section       44,755       42,578       42,930       44,979        46,305       38,944
Multi-Section       61,017       51,812       51,685       51,576        46,597       42,192
New Manufactured Homes Placed
(For Residential Use)
Located in Communities 51% 27% 31% 37% 32% 34%
Located on Private Property 49% 73% 69% 63% 68% 66%
Titled as Personal Property 77% 78% 76% 77% 76% 77%
Titled as Real Estate 19% 19% 19% 17% 17% 17%
  1 Includes manufactured homes with more than two sections.

Other disclosures from the Census Bureau report are found further below.

Several of the illustrations shown in this report can be opened in many browsers to reveal a larger size. To open this picture, click the image once. When the window opens, click it again to reveal the larger size photo. Use your browsers back key to return to the article. Note in the video below that while prices have changed since then, the percentage of savings and other information about manufactured homes from the viewpoint of a realtor whose husband is a custom builder are routinely similar. So, the video is still relevant. 


Additional Information with More MHLivingNews Analysis and Commentary

Per Fixr on March 2, 2022, “your costs range from $150 a square foot for modular to $250 a square foot for stick-built.” The Bob Villa site posted a report on 8.12.2022 that noted the average conventional house cost was about $200 per square foot for construction cost, meaning, these are figures without land cost. Bob Villa also noted that adding a basement can add $100 per square foot to the cost of a house. That obviously applies only to those areas were basements are built, because not all parts of the country have conditions that allow for a basement.




To give a more ‘apples to apples’ comparison, the average cost per square foot for a multi-sectional manufactured home in 2021 was $73.58. The average cost that same year, both per the U.S. Census Bureau, for a conventional house was $143.83.

The typical multi-sectional in 2021 was 1,794 square feet. Conventional housing, to achieve that $143.83 per square foot cost, that house average was about 2,544 square feet. One might presume that a manufactured home that would be closer in size to that 2544 square foot size the cost per square foot would typically drop somewhat, because kitchen, HVAC, electrical, and wet areas of a home are among the higher cost items. Typically, the larger the home when other factors are equal, the lower the cost per square foot.


The illustrations reveal that modern manufactured homes are not the same as trailer houses or mobile homes. While recreational vehicles (RVs) that are towable ‘travel trailers’ are still built, there have been no mobile homes built in the U.S.A. since June 15, 1976. That was the date when HUD Code manufactured homes were officially ‘born.’




Despite the dramatic difference in cost per square foot, during an affordable housing crisis, manufactured housing is underperforming in historic terms. The percentage or market share of new single family housing construction in America for manufactured housing has dropped. The graphics and linked reports explore why that is so.

Affordable Housing, Conventional Housing, Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, and Modular Housing Conundrum – What U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Research Revealed

The Home Journey Roadmap, Mortgage Giant Freddie Mac Explains Step-By-Step ‘How to Achieve the American Dream with Manufactured Housing’ – Financing, Buyers Tips, Facts and Analysis

‘Debunking Manufactured Housing Myths – Get the Facts,’ Says Mortgage Giant Freddie Mac’s Research – FHLMC Counters, Clarifies Claims About Trailer Houses, Mobile Homes, and Tiny Houses

‘Monopolies Inflict Harm in Many Ways’ ‘Merger Guidelines are a Free Pass’ – Historic Lessons in ‘Sabotaging Monopoly’ Economics in DoJ/FTC Guidelines by Prof James A Schmitz Jr, Sr Economist


For those shopping for a manufactured home, the videos and articles linked below are meant to give shopping tips that are timeless. To maximize your joy, invest in some reading. ##

Which Is It? Is it a Mobile Home or a Manufactured Home? Visual Guidance Planned by AP Stylebook for Reporters/Journalists Useful to General Public, Public Officials, and Researchers

‘Half Priced New Homes’ — Tampa Free Press-MHLivingNews Reveals Federally Certified, 3rd Party Inspected New Affordable Homes, Facts, Video, Analysis Solutions to Festering Affordable Housing Crisis Problems

“Preliminary Tornado Data 2021 National Weather Service,–Surprising, Hopeful Facts for Affordable Housing Seekers” – Impact on Conventional Housing, Mobile Home, Manufactured Homeowners

Unpacking “Manufactured Homes as an Investment” LendingTree “Mobile Home Values Are Rising Faster Than Single-Family Home Values”—When do Mobile and Manufactured Homes Appreciate or Depreciate?

Research-Data-Stats – Media & Investigator Resources – Mobile Homes, Manufactured Homes, Manufactured Housing Research – HUD, Univ-Studies, CFPB, Nonprofits, GAO, NFPA – Exec Summary, Definitions, Facts, Trends, More

Footnotes: additional information from the U.S. Census Bureau disclosures and sources are as follows.


Note: The Census Bureau has reviewed this data product for unauthorized disclosure of confidential information and has approved
          the disclosure avoidance practices applied.  (Approval ID: CBDRB-FY22-278)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Survey of Construction,               ;
Source: U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Manufactured Housing Survey.

“All the Truth About Manufactured Homes” – Facts, Comparisons Between Trailer Houses, Mobile Homes, Manufactured Homes, and Conventional Housing

Saving Time, Money, Hassles – How Can You Buy a Manufactured Home Without Encountering Problems? Pissed Consumer Video Interview of L. A. “Tony” Kovach on Manufactured Housing

“Machine of Human Suffering”-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, Manufactured Housing Institute Attorneys Response to Allegations “Felony” Abuses – Knudson Law Legal Report by Sam Strommen

Videos by NFIB Reflect Desire by Small Business Owners for Antitrust – or anti-Monopoly – Action and Why it Matters to Manufactured Home Community Residents and New Manufactured Homes Shoppers


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That’s a wrap on this installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)

All on Capitol Hill were welcoming and interested in the discussion of manufactured housing-related issues in our 12.3.2019 meetings. But Texas Congressman Al Green’s office was tremendous in their hospitality. Our son’s hand is on a package that included a copy of the Constitution of the United States and other goodies. MHProNews has worked with people and politicos across the left-right divide.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for

Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.

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Recent and Related Reports:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.




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