Writing in the Opinionator section of The New York Times, Andrea Levere says 18 million people with an average median income of $30,000 live in factory-built housing, making it the largest source of unsubsidized affordable housing in the U. S. Although over 70 percent own their own homes, most who live in manufactured housing communities (MHC) do not own the land under their home, as MHProNews.com knows. Noting most manufactured homes (MH) are classified as personal property instead of real estate, it makes it difficult to obtain low-cost financing. She says federal laws are needed to enact better financing options, and more local jurisdictions should embrace manufactured homes.
A proponent of MHCs becoming co-ops, Levere says 18 states have laws that deal with the transition, but most do not give people adequate time to prepare for the actual purchase. She says strict zoning laws prohibit siting MH in urban areas where they could be most helpful. In Oakland, California, MH has been used for infill lots since the 1980s, and the homes have sold for four times their original cost. The New York State Senate is considering a bill that mandates local ordinances treat manufactured housing like any other housing. She says more small lenders need to provide loans with the backing of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, just as they do for conventional homes.
As president of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), Levere promotes co-operative ownership of communities. She is also the board chairwoman for ROC USA (Resident Owned Communities).##
(Image credit: Royal Homes of Raleigh (NC)–manufactured homes)