WVPubCast tells MHProNews two new modular homes now dot Route 52 just outside Welch, West Virginia in the southwestern corner of the state. Penni Padgett, Housing Director of the Council of the Southern Mountains, notes it is a milestone. “It is a small start but it is a start,” she says. “These are the first new houses built on this side of the county in seven years.” With 70 percent of McDowell County’s housing considered substandard, according to a University of Pittsburgh study, the median value of the 14,000 homes in the county is $32,000, well below the national average of $188,000. The average median value in neighboring Mercer County is $73,000. The West Virginia Housing Development Fund provided the majority of the construction funding, but guidelines do not permit new homes in flood plains or in hollows, and the home has to be a certain distance from train tracks. Much of the county, Padgett says, is in a flood plain, and tracks are everywhere because this is coal country. The main obstacle, she says, is that 85 percent of the land in the county is owned by people or companies outside the state, making available land difficult to find. While qualified home-buyer applicants are being considered for the two new modular homes, Padgett is looking for land to site a third home.
(Image credit: Modular Homes Network)