Research on Modular Housing

Recently a member contacted the NAR library for research on modular homes, including their resale value and impact on adjacent property values. We provided articles, reports, statistics, and additional resources that may be helpful in building the case that modular homes appreciate in value just as “stick homes” do, and that they do not negatively impact property values in the surrounding community. Please note that many sources use the terms “manufactured” and “modular” interchangeably, or use terms like “prefabricated housing” to denote all types, but we have focused our research on modular homes wherever possible.



Modular Homes: Modular Home Building Council (National Association of Home Builders). A directory of articles on modular homes from NAHB


Reports and Studies


Trends and Information About the Manufactured Housing Industry (Manufactured Housing Institute, 2012)

Provides industry overview, demographic information on owners of manufactured homes, cost/size comparisons of new manufactured and new single-family site-built homes from 2007-2011, advantages of manufactured housing, and number of manufactured home shipments by state in 2011.

Understanding Today’s Manufactured Housing (Manufactured Housing Institute, 2012)

Provides a detailed explanation of the HUD code and discusses the impact of manufactured homes on property values and local community services.

Overcoming Barriers to Placing Manufactured Housing in Metropolitan Communities (Journal of the American Planning Association, Winter 2010).

Abstract: Manufactured housing is an option that is relatively little used in metropolitan communities although it appears to provide a quality-cost advantage over site-built housing. This article examines barriers to placing manufactured housing in metropolitan areas that planners might influence, focusing particularly on land use and design regulations. The authors paired data from a nationwide survey of planners in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)-eligible metropolitan communities with information on those communities’ characteristics to estimate several regression models explaining two measures of manufactured housing supply using both supply- and demand-side variables. A variety of regulatory restrictions, including the lack of by-right zoning, as well as permits, snow load standards, fire codes, zoning codes, subdivision regulations, and architectural design standards impede the placement of manufactured housing in metropolitan communities. The authors suggest that planners emphasize manufactured housing as an affordable housing option and they offer suggestions for accomplishing this.

Manufactured Housing Appreciation: Stereotypes and Data (Consumers Union, April 2003)

This report focuses on manufactured homes in the “mobile home” sense of the term, and asks “How do mobile homes appreciate relative to site-built housing?”

An Examination of Manufactured Housing as a Community- and Asset-Building Strategy (Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, September 2002)

Comprehensive report on all aspects of manufactured and modular housing, including its evolution, finance challenges, and model community development strategies. Also includes a lengthy bibliography of sources.

The Impact of Manufactured Housing on Adjacent Site Built Residential Properties in Two Alabama Counties (Southern Business Review, Fall 2000)

Compares appraised values and appreciation figures for manufactured and site-built homes in two Alabama counties.

Factory and Site-Build Housing: A Comparison for the 21st Century (NAHB Research Center, Inc., October 1998)

Distinguishes modular housing separately from manufactured housing, and discusses trends, regulatory processes, code requirements, cost, and more.

The Future of Manufactured Housing (Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University, January 1997)

This is an older study, but I have included it for historical reference value, and for an interesting table (Exhibit 8, page 15), which compares repair activity performed by all home owners compared to repair activity performed by manufactured home owners; the exhibit shows that the owners of manufactured homes spend less money and time performing repairs—even as far back as 1991-1993.


Average Sales Price of New Manufactured Homes Placed by Size of Home by State (US Census Bureau)




Manufactured Housing: An Industry Overview (Manufactured Housing Institute, May 16, 2012)

A comprehensive slideshow on manufactured housing on the advantages in quality and cost of manufactured housing (including some great photos), sales statistics, historical trends, and industry outlook



Books from the NAR library

We have several books on modular housing available for check out from the NAR Library. Please note that a $10 shipping fee is required, and we limit checkouts to 3 books at a time. I have provided one title below, but please feel free to search the library catalog for additional titles on modular housing.

The Modular Home, by Andrew Gianino (2005)


Institutes and Associations


Manager of the Library & Archives at the National Association of REALTORS

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  1. laura

    Sarah, Do you have a state by state comparison on how states regulate modular homes? Thank you!

  2. Sarah

    Hello, Laura. Unfortunately, I have not found a state-by-state comparison of modular or manufactured home regulations. The Manufactured Housing Institute provides a list of state manufactured housing associations and their respective websites (, but I’m afraid you would have visit each state’s website to compile a list.