Rise and Fall of HUD Code Manufactured Housing 1995-2023 – Story of the U.S. Affordable Housing Crisis Behind the Facts

“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth.
When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

Thomas Sowell

“The puzzle is why there’s so little (manufactured housing) being shipped when it’s a much better product than it used to be,” said Laurie Goodman, an Urban Institute fellow.” Millions of Americans need and want an affordable home. As the quote above from News Nation reported, manufactured housing: “has historically been a more affordable option.” “Advocates are pushing for legislative change but are met with opposition.” What that News Nation report by Katie Smith on 2.8.2024 began to tackle, this report with analysis and industry expert commentary will elaborate on.

Goodman is correct. Manufactured homes have improved – an important fact that numbers of independent researchers have made over the years.  Some of that third-party research is found linked from the report below.




First the facts, then the analysis and commentary which will present still more facts. Bing’s artificial intelligence (AI) powered CoPilot will be used to assist in this report as shown. 

> “Define manufactured homes and make the distinction between the trailer houses and mobile homes of yesteryear and modern manufactured housing, especially since the HUD Code went into effect on June 15, 1976. Cite the source(s) for information.”

BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHLivingNewsA manufactured home is a type of prefabricated residence that has its standardized parts constructed and assembled in a factory, and then transported and affixed to a location (your home site)1Manufactured homes are built to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD Code), which require them to be constructed on a permanent chassis2Manufactured homes are different from mobile homes, which are the older versions of movable, factory-built housing that do not meet the HUD Code standards3Manufactured homes are also different from modular homes, which are prefabricated homes that are built to the same state, local or regional building codes as site-built homes, and do not have a permanent chassis4The HUD Code was implemented on June 15, 1976, and since then, any movable, factory-built housing is officially referred to as manufactured homes in federal law and literature2. …”


Regarding the data from 1995-2023, the following was reported by Copilot at this link here.


BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHLivingNewsSure, I can do that. Here is the updated table with the data for 2023 added.


Year Production
1995 344,930
1996 363,345
1997 353,686
1998 373,143
1999 348,075
2000 250,366
2001 193,120
2002 165,489
2003 130,815
2004 130,748
2005 146,881
2006 117,373
2007 95,752
2008 81,457
2009 49,683
2010 50,056
2011 51,618
2012 54,881
2013 60,228
2014 64,334
2015 70,544
2016 81,136
2017 92,902
2018 96,555
2019 94,615
2020 94,390
2021 105,772
2022 112,882
2023 89,169


In response to another inquiry, Copilot said this.

BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHLivingNewsThe HUD Code manufactured housing industry has experienced fluctuations in production over the years. Let’s delve into the causes of its rise and fall during the 21st century:

  1. Post-Production Sector Failures:
  2. Supply Shortage Factors:
  3. Regulatory Updates:

In summary, addressing discriminatory zoning, improving financing options, and streamlining regulations are crucial steps to stabilize and enhance manufactured housing production in the 21st century.

Learn more


“You cited MHARR, which provided the latest data at this link here: https://manufacturedhousingassociationregulatoryreform.org/drastic-2023-manufactured-housing-production-decline-warrants-much-stronger-action/ That report noted that HUD is not properly enforcing the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 and its so-called Enhanced Preemption provision. Further, that same report points to the lack of Duty to Serve (DTS) mandated financing as required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Elaborate on those points.”


BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHLivingNewsCertainly! Let’s delve into the details regarding the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA), its Enhanced Preemption provision, and the Duty to Serve (DTS) mandated financing:

  1. Enhanced Preemption Provision:
  2. HUD’s Role and Challenges:
  3. Duty to Serve (DTS):

In summary, addressing these challenges—properly enforcing preemption, eliminating discriminatory zoning, and improving financing options—is crucial for the sustained growth and affordability of the manufactured housing industry.


> “Useful. Okay, News Nation recently published this report linked here: https://www.newsnationnow.com/business/your-money/manufactured-mobile-homes-affordable-housing/ While it covers some of those issues, which topics did News Nation’s report miss? Can you elaborate on what is missing from their report and how it could spark the use of HUD’s enhanced preemption authority or the FHFA’s authority to compel the Government Sponsored Enteprises of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide liquidity via the Duty to Serve on manufactured home chattel or home only lending?”


BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHLivingNewsNews Nation’s report highlights the affordability challenges faced by manufactured homes, but there are additional aspects that it doesn’t delve into. Let’s explore what’s missing and how these gaps could impact the industry:

  1. **Lack of Comprehensive Regulatory Action:
    • While the report touches on zoning restrictions and financing complexities, it doesn’t emphasize the need for comprehensive regulatory action.
    • HUD’s Enhanced Preemption Authority: The report could have highlighted how HUD’s enhanced preemption authority can be a powerful tool to override local zoning regulations that unfairly exclude manufactured homes. By enforcing this authority more effectively, HUD can ensure that manufactured homes have equal access to suitable locations.
    • FHFA’s Role: The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It has the authority to compel these Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to support underserved markets, including manufactured housing, through the Duty to Serve (DTS) program.
  2. **Duty to Serve (DTS) Implementation:
    • The report briefly mentions financing challenges but doesn’t delve into the specifics of DTS.
    • DTS Mandate: The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 mandated DTS, requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide liquidity for manufactured home chattel (personal property) or home-only lending.
    • Chattel Loans: These loans are essential for manufactured home buyers who don’t own the underlying land. However, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been hesitant to securitize chattel loans, limiting financing options.
    • Potential Solutions: Highlighting the importance of DTS and urging GSEs to actively participate in the manufactured housing market could spark positive change. Advocacy for stronger DTS implementation is crucial.
  3. **Affordability and Equity:
    • The report could have explored the equity implications of manufactured housing.
    • Low-Income Households: Manufactured homes often serve as affordable housing for low-income families. Ensuring equitable access to this housing option is vital.
    • Community Development: Encouraging the development of new communities and parks for manufactured homes can address affordability gaps.
    • Inclusionary Policies: Advocacy for inclusionary zoning policies that promote mixed-income neighborhoods could enhance affordability.

In summary, while News Nation’s report provides valuable insights, a deeper exploration of regulatory actions, DTS implementation, and equity considerations would strengthen the discussion around manufactured housing affordability and its potential solutions.

> “HUD researchers Pamela Blumenthal and Regina Gray have been cited by manufactured housing trade publications that illustrate the barriers to more affordable housing in general, and more manufactured housing in specific, correct? How does their research and the analysis of their research compare or contrast with what you’ve said in this thread?”

BingCopilotAI-Screen1.3.2024MHLivingNewsIndeed, Pamela Blumenthal and Regina Gray, researchers associated with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), have delved into the barriers affecting affordable housing, including manufactured homes. Let’s compare their research findings with the points discussed in this thread:

  1. HUD’s Research on Regulatory Barriers:
    • Blumenthal and Gray emphasize the impact of regulatory barriers on housing affordability. They recognize that the United States requires a diverse range of housing options to meet the needs of households across the country.
    • Their research highlights the consequences of inadequate housing supply, including higher costs for both renters and homebuyers. They acknowledge that building permits remain below historical averages, exacerbating the housing deficit.
    • Importantly, they address the regulatory environment—federal, state, and local—that contributes to the mismatch between supply and demand. Land use regulations, which limit new unit construction or impose significant costs, drive up housing prices. These higher costs also affect federal assistance programs1.
  2. Comparison with Points in This Thread:
    • The research by Blumenthal and Gray aligns with the discussion in this thread regarding:
      • Zoning Restrictions: Both emphasize how land use regulations impact housing costs. Zoning limitations can hinder the construction of new units, affecting affordability.
      • Cost Burdens: The rising costs of housing burden both renters and homeowners. This aligns with the thread’s focus on affordability challenges.
      • Supply Urgency: The urgency to increase housing supply is a shared concern. The thread also emphasizes the need for comprehensive regulatory action.
    • However, the thread goes further by discussing:
      • Enhanced Preemption Authority: It highlights the role of HUD’s enhanced preemption authority in addressing zoning barriers. Effective preemption can ensure equal access to suitable locations for manufactured homes.
      • Duty to Serve (DTS): The thread emphasizes the importance of DTS financing options. While Blumenthal and Gray don’t directly mention manufactured housing, the thread specifically addresses DTS and its impact on affordability.

In summary, Blumenthal and Gray’s research complements the thread’s insights, emphasizing the urgency of addressing regulatory barriers and increasing housing supply. The thread further explores specific tools like preemption and DTS to enhance affordability in the manufactured housing sector12.

Learn more


The above is a good introduction to the rise and fall of HUD Code manufactured housing. But there is more to know. For example.


> “What has Samuel Strommen and James Schmitz Jr and his colleagues research into manufactured housing revealed? How does it help complete the picture of why manufactured housing is underperforming during an affordable housing crisis?”

Certainly! Let’s explore the research conducted by Samuel Strommen and James Schmitz Jr, along with their colleagues, regarding manufactured housing and its implications for affordability:

  1. Samuel Strommen’s Research:
    • Strommen’s legal thesis focuses on the monopolization of the American manufactured home industry and the formation of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
    • Antitrust Violations: He exposes both blatant and subtle antitrust violations within the industry, particularly related to manufacturing, financing, and consolidating landlords.
    • Monopolization: Strommen calls for reforms within the industry to address monopolistic practices that hinder affordability and contribute to human suffering.
    • His research sheds light on how market manipulation and monopolies impact the performance of manufactured housing12.
  2. James Schmitz Jr.’s Research:
  3. Completing the Picture:
Learn more

> “MHLivingNews and MHProNews has explored some insights based upon a slide from the Cavco Industries investor relations page that states that the lack of enough affordable housing costs the U.S. economy about $2 trillion dollars in reduced GDP annually. That page from Cavco’s IR pitch deck also makes the point that affordable home ownership can lead to more generational wealth creation. Can you shed light on the themes and importance of that particular item and related analysis?”


Certainly! Let’s delve into the themes and importance of the insights from Cavco Industries regarding affordable housing, GDP impact, and generational wealth creation:

  1. Affordable Housing and GDP Impact:
    • The slide from Cavco Industries’ investor relations page highlights a critical issue: the massive housing shortage across the United States.
    • The staggering 6 million housing unit deficit nationwide underscores the severity of the problem1.
    • The lack of affordable housing has significant repercussions for the economy. Specifically:
      • Reduced GDP: The slide suggests that the U.S. economy suffers an annual loss of approximately $2 trillion due to the housing shortage.
      • This reduction in GDP stems from various factors related to housing scarcity, including decreased productivity, constrained labor mobility, and increased financial stress on households.
      • Affordable housing is not just a social issue; it directly impacts the overall economic health of the nation.
  2. Generational Wealth Creation:
    • The second crucial point made by Cavco Industries is the link between affordable homeownership and generational wealth.
    • Here’s why this matters:
      • Homeownership as an Asset: Owning a home is often the most significant asset for families. It provides stability, security, and a sense of belonging.
      • Wealth Accumulation: Over time, homeownership allows families to accumulate wealth. As property values appreciate, equity builds up. This equity can be passed down to future generations.
      • Breaking the Cycle of Poverty: Affordable homeownership can break the cycle of poverty. When families have a stake in their homes, they have a foundation for upward mobility.
      • Education and Opportunities: Homeownership provides stability for children, enabling them to focus on education and pursue opportunities.
      • Long-Term Financial Security: Owning a home contributes to long-term financial security, retirement planning, and intergenerational prosperity.
  3. Policy Implications:
    • Policymakers, industry leaders, and communities must recognize the symbiotic relationship between affordable housing, economic growth, and generational wealth.
    • Addressing the housing deficit requires:
      • Comprehensive Solutions: Regulatory reforms, incentives for affordable housing development, and innovative financing models.
      • Equitable Access: Ensuring that all segments of society have access to affordable homeownership.
      • Investment in Communities: Building vibrant neighborhoods with quality housing options.
    • By prioritizing affordable housing, we not only boost GDP but also create a path toward generational prosperity.

In summary, Cavco Industries’ insights underscore the urgency of addressing the housing crisis, emphasizing both economic implications and the transformative power of affordable homeownership for future generations1.



“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth.
When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

Thomas Sowell

To learn more, see the reports linked below. Programming notice: Mobile Home and Manufactured Home Living News (MHLivingNews) plans to do a follow up on this topic in the days ahead. ##
Flashback video with real estate professional whose husband is a custom conventional house builder. The prices of homes are higher now, but the percentage of savings are much the same. 

Linda.Hazelhoff, Real Estate Associate Broker, Kalamazoo, MI from Manufactured Home Living News.





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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.)

How quickly they grow! Our son is about the same height as dad now. On that occasion recalled by this photo, 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. MHLivingNews and MHProNews has worked with people and politicos across the left-right divide.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.

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 MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.


Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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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