Metal travel trailers evolved as an interesting, inexpensive way for a family to take a vacation, but the Great Depression transformed them into dwellings as people lost their homes. During WWII, the units provided portable quarters for the military as well as housing for factory workers that were part of the war production effort. In the later 1940’s and through the 1960’s the homes became larger and more livable as communities sprang up, mostly on the outskirts of town. In the early days, there was a central shower and laundry facilities, and an outhouse between every two homes. As bobvila.com tells MHProNews, construction standards that existed for the factory-built homes varied from state-to-state. As of June, 1976 the now legally-termed manufactured homes have to adhere to strict standards of construction—the HUD Code– established by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), regulations which have been updated several times. Bruce Savage, consultant to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the industry trade organization, says, “The HUD code has evolved, and the guidelines are fairly strict, but how they are achieved is up to the manufacturer.” Joe Stegmayer, CEO of Cavco Industries, Inc. says it takes 7-10 days to complete a highly-finished manufactured home—from window treatments to appliances and painted drywall—with precision. Some homes are destined for retirement communities, some for family living. Says Kevin Flaherty of Champion Homes: “In the family communities, people are looking for an affordable home with security. In the adult community, they are often driven by a desire to minimize their housing investment so they can protect their savings. Buyers appreciate that they can purchase just the home and not have to liquidate as much money, since they are renting the lot.” Manufactured housing continues to provide inexpensive home ownership.
(Image credit: Cavco Industries, Inc.)