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Double-decker manufactured homes make most of small lots
SEATTLE, Washington (CNN) -- One of the latest trends to hit the housing market is two-story, factory-made homes that arrive on wheels. A crane is used to place the completely assembled second floor on top of the first floor.
The pre-fabricated buildings are designed to make housing more affordable in cities that are short on space. The houses average about 1,400 square feet, far larger than typical manufactured homes. Developers say the second story allows them to maximize space on smaller lots.
The double-decker manufactured homes are also a good way to cut costs, according to Tony To of HomeSight, a nonprofit housing development group that helps moderate-income, first-time house buyers.
"It's a lot easier to build things in a plant, because it's mass production assembly line," said To. "It's like the difference between a custom car and a factory car."
Couldn't tell it was pre-manufactured
Prices range from $140,000 to $235,000, which is about 10 percent to 15 percent lower than traditional Seattle site-built homes. When all the pieces are put together, the factory-made houses have all the features of a conventionally built house.
The homes take about a week for factory workers to build. All the houses are up to code with the Housing and Urban Development standards.
In addition to the Pacific Northwest, two-story manufactured homes are popping up in Maryland and California.
Lauren Bonner was one of the first new owners to move into one of Seattle's "mobile" homes, although she hesitated before buying it.
"But when I came inside the home and saw that it was very close to a normal home and you couldn't even tell that it was pre-manufactured somewhere else, I thought it was fantastic," said Bonner.
Waiting for home to be delivered
Special loans are given to some families. Polly Sutton qualified for assistance, and after 20 years of renting, the Seattle resident is now waiting for her home to be delivered.
"The prices of houses have escalated so much in this area so quickly that what we (normally would) qualify for is nothing," said future homeowner Sutton.
Forty-three factory-made homes are either in Seattle or on their way. Of those, 30 have been pre-sold -- most to first-time home buyers, bringing them one step closer to the American Dream.
Manufactured Housing Institute
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