CrossMod: Manufactured Homes with a Difference

CrossMod homes may be one of the answers to the housing shortage and the construction labor shortage. While there is a high demand for entry-level homes, the supply falls far short of what is needed. The cost of materials has increased substantially over the last few years and the availability of skilled workers has decreased. This type of manufactured home can be financed and appreciates in price just like site-built homes, and is designed to overcome zoning barriers that traditional manufactured homes face.

These homes are built in factories to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) specs but finished at the homesite so that they look like site-built homes. They are put on permanent foundations and have covered porches, attached garages, and rooflines that are pitched higher, similar to site-built homes. Their interior features are of higher quality than single- or double-wide manufactured homes, yet they are more affordable than site-built homes of similar sizes.1 Their cost makes them more affordable for first-time buyers looking to move into a home. See this Builder Magazine article for images of CrossMod homes.

Since the units are built in a factory, the amount of work needed to finish them onsite is reduced. This decreases the time that skilled labor is needed on the job site, which enables developers to complete homes more quickly.

Since the HUD specs are a national standard CrossMod factories can produce the same home for all states rather than adjusting for state or local codes. Standard specs and economies of scale for large purchases of supplies reduces the final cost of these homes over site-built homes. Manufacturing the homes in a factory means their production is not limited by inclement weather. They can keep producing year-round.

Single- and double-wide manufactured homes are usually excluded from traditional financing options. However Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have special financing programs with lending institutions for these CrossMod homes. This helps lower the financial barriers for buyers.

Fannie Mae requires one of these design features in order to qualify for their MH Advantage financing program. There are additional specifications in this PDF.

  • Dormer(s) and Covered Porch (minimum 72 square feet); OR
  • Dormer(s) and Attached Garage/Carport; OR
  • Covered Porch (minimum 72 square feet) and Attached Garage/Carport

These homes are appraised and appreciate (pricewise) similar to site-built homes.

Zoning restrictions are one of the main barriers for manufactured homes. Communities often do not allow these types of homes in many areas. The CrossMod’s appearance allows it to fit in with site-built homes. That makes it more acceptable to communities. The appearance of the home, the higher quality interiors, and the available conventional financing also help make these types of homes attractive and affordable to more potential buyers.

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1 Could manufactured homes be the next big thing in housing?

Additional Reading: Comparison of the Costs of Manufactured and Site-Built Housing