Here’s Why Modular Homes Are Having a Moment

Kevin Purvis, a Los Angeles-based real estate investor, was discouraged. Ready to embark on a build-to-rent single family project with an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in Corona, California, he checked out modular construction, thinking it could lower costs.

Modular homes and investment portfolios

After examining offerings from at least 10 modular builders, though, he couldn’t get numbers to crunch to his advantage. Factory-built components and fast assembly could reduce delays in the building process, but at $250-plus per square foot, it was still pricey.

Modular is a quick way to put up a house

Semler’s company, now licensed, registered and certified in 42 states, has a dedicated factory in Greenwood, South Carolina, and began franchising in 2020. Impresa manufactures some 3,000 block-by-block residential designs in traditional styles, producing 500-700 dwellings a year at a price point just below $200 per square foot.

Modular is poised to grow in the market

Modular is currently a tiny part of the American housing market. It accounted for 13,415 homes in 2020, the Modular Home Building Association says; that’s just 1.2 percent of the single-family housing starts market, according to the most recent Survey of Construction by the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Labor Shortage

Due to labor shortages, “the industry must adapt to new methods to keep pace,” wrote Joanna Schwartz, CEO of Quartz Properties, a Massachusetts-based “modular-centric homebuilder,” in “How Can the Country Solve the Housing Shortage?”, a November 2021 Forbes Business Council analysis.

Construction chaos

The construction chaos brought by the Covid-19 pandemic — mounting labor scarcity, the scramble for materials, and supply-chain issues — could act as a boon for modular.

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