Traditional housing will always be the number one way our industry grows. The ranch, cape and two story home dominate the new home market.
However there are changes that everyone in the modular home industry needs to be aware of. Small is the new big. Modular is the new custom-built. 3-dimensional printers are creating components for new homebuilders. Auxiliary Dwelling Units, Medical Cottages and even yurts, the dwellings favored by Mongolian herders, are making a comeback.
What is smaller than a tiny house? Micro apartments. These units are coming at a quarter the size of median size apartments built in the last 5 years are cropping up in big cities like New York, Seattle, and Los Angeles. They’re even spreading to smaller metros like Providence, Rhode Island.
What they lack in size, micro apartments make up for in lower costs—usually. But residents may wind up paying a little extra for the luxury amenities that many come with, such as Wi-Fi, weekly housekeeping service and even communal activities such as whitewater rafting trips and happy hours.
These circular homes, which have sheltered Mongolian nomads for thousands of years, can cost quite a bit less than more traditional homes. A roughly 700-square-foot model with a wooden frame and vinyl walls could go for around $20,000. That doesn’t include the foundation and utilities hookups.
That’s a prime reason why over the past few years, sales of the structures have grown by about 10 percent annually with many retirees wanting them as their empty nest homes.
This is one type of home construction that is not well suited to modular construction but I thought it was interesting that they have been on the upswing in the US.
Upscale modular homes are beginning to enjoy their moment in the spotlight. Modular housing is often of higher quality, costs about the same as site built but with less waste and can go up a lot faster than traditionally built homes.
Modular is also inherently greener and inspected better and more often than site built homes.
3-D Printed Home Components
Homes created by a 3-D printer are expected to be cheaper than traditionally built residences.
They don’t require as many construction workers and they produce less waste as the machines use only as much material as is needed. New homes could be designed by ordinary folks and printed in days.
99% of the 3-D printed parts are components that can replace some of the materials and standard components in homes and will be used mostly for site built homes.
The technology is still evolving, but rudimentary buildings, mostly made of concrete, are already being printed around the world. They still have to be finished which usually occurs off-site.
This small segment is gaining popularity and once the modified IRC TH code is completed and implemented, many states will begin creating zoning laws and regulations for them. Modular factories should be ready for this when the IRC regs are completed. Once this happens the logical place to build them will be on an production line that already builds to the IRC code and that is the modular factory.
There are several other types of single family dwellings that will begin to make inroads in tomorrow’s housing including ADUs and Medical Cottages.
|Auxiliary Dwelling Unit|
These new types of housing should make the owners of every modular factory in the US drool with anticipation. Well, maybe not the Yurts but surely everything else.