Princeton’s Manufactured Housing ‘definition,’ You’ve Got to Be Kidding! decided to see how others define a manufactured home. The first result that came up in Google was surprising and shockingly incorrect.


Princeton, for the record, a manufactured home is legally NOT a mobile home.

There have been no ‘mobile homes’ built in the United States since June 15, 1976, when the current legal definition and construction requirements for “manufactured housing” went into effect. While the word “trailer” could be used to describe a towable recreational vehicle, it reflects ignorance or a misguided slur when used to described a manufactured home. The T-word should not be used to describe a manufactured home, or a mobile home.

Surely, respected Princeton can do better than the error filled ‘definition’ shown above.

But sadly Princeton is not alone when it comes to providing a slanted or errant ‘definition’ of manufactured housing.

The Modular Building Systems Association (MBSA) – a professional advocacy group for the modular housing industry – has obvious trouble with their definition too, found on the web page that begins with the screen capture shown below.


 MHLivingNews believes in the merits of all forms of factory home building, so we certainly support the use of modular home building too.

That said, the definitions used by modular industry association shown above is better than Princeton’s, but is regrettably a mish-mash of facts and spin calculated to make ‘modular homes’ or ‘Mods’ look better than manufactured homes by comparison.

What follows is a proper definition for a manufactured home.

A manufactured home is a residential dwelling built in conformity with pre-emptive federal standards established under the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C.A. §§ 5401-5426), or as updated since that date. This code is commonly known as the HUD Code, so named because of the federal agency which regulates the manufactured housing industry.


A manufactured home is built to what is currently the only federally pre-emptive performance-based building code, as opposed to a ‘proscriptive’ state/local building code as modular, other prefabs and conventional homes are. The definitions shown on the modular association’s website takes a number of subtle, slanted, cheap shots designed to make “mods” look better than manufactured homes.

MODs are a fine way to build, and the MBSA doesn’t need to take a misguided cheap shot to make themselves look ‘better’ by trying to make manufactured homes look worse. MODs offer similar benefits compared to other forms of factory home building.

The facts are that modern manufactured housing building standards produced a stronger, safer home that saves millions money when purchased and for years thereafter.

Manufactured home standards produce a comfortable, appealing home that is statistically safer than conventionally built housing against fires and has lower utility and maintenance costs too. The modular association’s attempt to make manufactured homes look like they are doomed to lose value seems laughable when all forms of U.S. housing in the mortgage/housing meltdown that began in 2008 lost value.


 Manufactured homes can gain or lose value for the same reasons that any other form of housing does: including local or macro economic, lending, supply/demand and other conditions.

It is worth noting that manufactured homes can broadly be seen as falling into two different styles, with both styles being required to meet the federally pre-emptive building standards of the HUD Code.

  • One style are the highly economical ‘entry level’ homes,
  • the other are ‘residential’ style homes that can have the same type of finished drywall, ceilings and roof pitches found on conventional homes, while maintaining safety and cost advantages.
  • Both styles are strong, durable and comfortable forms of single family homes.


Manufactured homes can be financed using FHA Title II, VA or USDA mortgages, and other forms of conventional mortgage financing, on terms and rates that mirror conventional housing.


 Manufactured homes also offer the unique option of being financeable using personal property loans that do not require use of real estate as collateral. Terms of personal property loans tend to be shorter and rates vary based on credit, down payment and other factors.


 A mobile home is a home built on a transportable frame in a factory prior to the establishment of the HUD Code. A mobile home is larger than a towable recreational vehicle. As noted above, no mobile homes have been built since June 15. 1976.

When the MBSA or Princeton advises us that they have corrected their errant online definitions, MHLivingNews will gladly provide an update to reflect that fact. ##


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