Clayton Home Sales Centers sales up this year presents Factory Built Housing Industry News at Noon with Erin Patla.

Coming up – Could “Granny Flats” Be a Sandwich Generation Solution?

But first…these stories:

Clayton Home Sales Centers sales up this year

South Carolina Now

The numbers for Clayton Home Sales Centers (a Berkshire-Hathaway Company) for the first half of 2010 are in and the company’s sales are up 22 percent from this time last year.

According to The New York Times, nationally, manufactured homes made up nearly a quarter of all new homes sold for less than $200,000 in 2009.

Sales are expected to remain strong for the next few months as area Clayton dealerships participate in the National Open House program, designed to get people inside homes and considering purchases.

W.Va. launches new 3.5 percent mortgage program

The West Virginia Housing Development Fund announced Tuesday a new mortgage program where 280 families can qualify for the fund’s lowest interest rate in its history:  3.5 percent.

The program also includes a 30-year fixed-rate loan with zero percent down-payment. The program also offers closing cost assistance loans, said Gov. Joe Manchin and fund Executive Director Joe Hatfield.

Financing for the program comes from the sale of $35 million in bonds and a special bond refunding.

Hatfield called the program a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for first-time home buyers living in the fund’s 20 non-targeted counties. A first-time buyer is someone who hasn’t lived in an owner-occupied house for the past three years.

The counties are Barbour, Berkeley, Boone, Brooke, Cabell, Greenbrier, Hancock, Harrison, Jefferson, Kanawha, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Mercer, Monongalia, Morgan, Ohio, Putnam, Raleigh and Wood.

The program covers new or existing houses, duplexes, townhouses and new manufactured homes. It does not cover new or used single-section and multi-section homes.

Applications will be taken at banks, mortgage brokers and credit unions.

{ Market Report }

“Up next, Could “Granny Flats” Be a Sandwich Generation Solution?”

But first, this podcast of News at Noon is sponsored in part by: Tap into Excellence, your ONE-STOP Resource for the Manufactured Housing Industry, the Leader in Land Lease Communities information!

Tap into Excellence – on the Web at or call 317-346-7156.

And now, back to the news…”

Could “Granny Flats” Be a Sandwich Generation Solution?

Michelle V. Rafter – Blog

A Virginia company is making news with a high-tech mini-modular home that families can set up in the backyard for grandma or grandpa as an alternative to a nursing home.

The 12-foot-by-24-foot MED Cottage from Salem, Virginia-based N2Care has a bedroom, sitting area, kitchenette and wheelchair-accessible bathroom. The unit also has floor-mounted webcams linked to the internet so a family member can check to see whether an elderly relative has fallen.

N2Care finished a prototype Med Cottage last month and doesn’t expect full-scale production to start until next year. However, media outlets including CBS Evening NewsThe Washington Post and local Virginia papers are already jumping on the story, dubbing the unit “the backyard nursing home.”

In interviews, the company’s CEO, Rev. Ken Dupin, a local pastor, said he was inspired to create the cottage after taking part in overseas missionary trips to countries where it’s the norm for generations to live together.

The pods are a prefab twist on the traditional mother-in-law unit and are designed to address an issue many people over 40 in the Sandwich Generation are facing: how to assist aging parents who can’t or don’t want to stay in their homes, and want an alternative to the hospital-like environment of care facilities.

Like any housing addition, these new units raise zoning questions.

In the Portland area, a decades-old urban growth boundary has caused a dramatic increase in in-fill residential development. Local zoning ordinances passed this year take this one step further, allowing what’s called accessory dwelling units to be erected on the same property as a main home. According to this article from the Portland Tribune, local builders predict the change could pave the way for backyard granny flats of all kinds, including the types of units N2Care is making. Cities such as Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle have similar laws on the books.

Other areas still are working on regulations. Virginia state lawmakers recently passed legislation superseding local zoning laws to allow families to install modulars–including N2Care’s units–based on a doctor’s orders. Skeptics, however, worry that people will take advantage of the law and move teenagers or other relatives into vacated units.

N2Care isn’t the only company betting medical modulars will go big. Seattle-based FabCab, short for “fabulous cabins,” launched a line of environmentally friendly prefab and wooden kit homes earlier this year that the company says are suitable for use as in-law quarters. Another company, Larson + Shores Architects Inc., of Oakland, Ca., plans to roll out its own eco-friendly one-bedroom modular called the Inspired In-Law this fall.

Have you added a granny flat or secondary structure to your property for a parent or older relative? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

On behalf of Production and IT Manager Bob Stovall, Editor L.A. Tony Kovach, Associate Editor Catherine Frenzel, INdustry in Focus reporter Eric Miller, and the entire writing and support team, this is Erin Patla. Gday!

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