The manufactured home market is entering its hot season after a year of memorably high demand and national supply challenges.
As demand for the unique type of dwelling increased and stayed high during the pandemic, the difficulty for builders to supply new homes to the market caused backlogs for customers that continued to grow. As of the springtime, those backlogs are not expected to grow, said Rob Ripperda, vice president of operations at the Texas Manufactured Housing Association.
Access to materials caused many businesses to experience product shortages throughout the pandemic and across industries. This greatly delayed products that require more parts or complex sources for parts. As those supply chains begin to readjust, the time an average customer might wait for a manufactured home has hit its anticipated ceiling statewide as well as for A-1 Homes in Victoria.
At the worst of the backlogs, procuring used homes on the sales lot was a priority for manufactured home business A-1 Homes, said General Manager Jacob Ricossa.
Before the pandemic, wait times would be about two months, Ricossa said. Now, backlogs are on average about six months.
When the business’ backlog was eight to nine months for a customer, Ricossa said used manufactured homes were the only way to get inventory. This also comes as manufacturers have allowed Ricossa to order only a specified number of new homes each quarter.
As of March, he said homes are coming in even as they are sold. Inventory remains at about 15 to 17 manufactured homes on the lot. He said he doesn’t expect inventory to reach 25 like it had before the pandemic.
A manufactured home is a structure that is transportable in one or more sections, at least 400 square feet, built and remains on a permanent chassis, designed to be used as a dwelling with a permanent foundation and must be designed for occupancy as a principal residence by a single family, according to Department of Housing and Urban Development code. This is separate and commonly confused with modular homes, which are built according to local building codes, and mobile homes which have no federal definition.
This type of dwelling is popular outside major metropolitan areas because many cities’ building codes, like Victoria‘s, allow them to be built under certain circumstances. In unincorporated areas without those building codes, manufactured homes are also popular, Ricossa said.
The high sales season for manufactured homes stretches from about March through the summer to August, with a dip around July Fourth, Ricossa and Ripperda said.
In December and January, manufacturers built manufactured homes at their highest rates in 10 years, Ripperda said.
“I think everyone has been concerned about (source material problems) being a limiting issue,” Ripperda said. “They just kind of keep crawling and scraping and made it through and made it work.”
Despite supply challenges, Ripperda said statewide sales have remained higher each month since May compared to what they were the previous year.
As supply goes down and demand goes up, prices have been able to climb as well.
A double-wide manufactured home Ricossa ordered in October reached his lot in February for $15,000 more than when he ordered it.
Year-over-year, he said prices might increase about $1,000 or $1,500. But within half that time period, he said they have increased as much as $10,000 to $15,000. Despite this, he said many customers don’t bat an eye at the new prices.
Geoff Sloan reports on business and breaking news in the Crossroads region. He received his Bachelor’s in international relations with minors in journalism and French from Texas State University. Reach him at [email protected] or @GeoffroSloan on Twitter.