Monday, May 12, 2014

Zillow Doesn’t Know Jack About Modular Housing

Careful Zillow, you’re West Coast is showing.

Zillow, the huge website devoted to home buying with listings in every state looked at the entire modular home industry and declared the shipping container to be the perfect example of what a modular home should be.

Catherine Sherman, the author of this article, obviously has never traveled beyond the 3 states of California, Oregon and Washington. If she had she would have found that the West Coast modular is a minority of the total modular housing in the US. Not everyone wants to live in a shipping container.

Her article is limited to just two factories. One has limited floorplans and the houses all look like Lego designed shoeboxes. She offers us Meka Inc as an example of “Affordable” modular housing. This may be affordable in certain parts of the west but $300-600 a sq ft finished is not affordable in most other areas of the US.

Quoted from the article: 
MEKA Inc., a global modular home builder, offers six models ranging from 320 square feet to 1,920 square feet. Pricing in the U.S. starts at $61,500 for the smallest model and goes up to about $200,000 for the bigger models. Kitchen appliances are not included, and the buyer is responsible for the costs of the foundation, roof finishing and assembly. But according to MEKA CEO Michael de Jong, they are still more affordable than most alternatives.
Plus, modular homes offer flexibility that traditional homes don’t have. MEKA’s homes are built to fit in a shipping container so they can be transported virtually anywhere. Assembly takes only a day, and it’s possible to move the homes after they’ve been assembled.
 “Like Legos, you also undo it and move your home,” de Jong explained.
 While modular homes typically don’t have the architectural complexity of some home styles, de Jong says simple lines can be attractive if you make some modifications so the home doesn’t look like a container.

Please make her stop!

She also mentions Clayton Homes as the largest manufacturer of modular homes. I’m sure Uncle Si would agree with that. If Walmart ever decides to sell “modular” homes, Clayton will create a Duck Dynasty brand featuring double wide “modular” homes. Walmart would offer to sell the homes and quickly ship one to China where they would duplicate it for a lower price and then dump Clayton to the curb.

If the Zillow folks would ever take a look at what is actually listed on their site, they would be surprised how many of the traditional homes across the US are modular and they don’t look like shoeboxes. If they want to define a type of home, please have a reporter do her research instead of just calling on a “global” insignificant prefab builder like Meka.

CLICK HERE to read the entire article.

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