It’s not uncommon for young couples to take the old-fashioned route of buying a so-called starter home to save money, knowing they will need to sell later. This seems like a logical way to put your hard-earned money into a property that yields some return. But the uncomfortable reality often sets in earlier than people expect that the living space is tight, and they are not financially ready to buy a larger home as young ones come along. What seemed like a smart investment often turns into a quagmire.
The inherent problem with going the outdated starter-home-and-sell route is that families often grow more quickly than salaries. Annual bonuses come once per year and pay raises may just help you keep pace with the rising cost of living. In nine months, you could require another bedroom, play space, and floor plan to accommodate a youngster.
That’s why more and more first-time homebuyers are making a long-term investment into manufactured homes instead of site-built ones. The difference in prices and floor plans is substantial. And at the end of the day, you won’t have the space constraints or face the predicament of uprooting your growing family. Consider this general comparison between manufactured homes and their site-built counterparts.
If you were to consider a single wide manufactured model in the context of a so-called “starter home,” the return on investment is heavily one-sided. A manufactured home such as a Karsten single-wide offers a master bedroom and two children’s rooms with a separate bath, living room, dining room, and kitchen. This affordable home delivers homeowners 1,178 square feet of living space. The floor plan and spaciousness are more than ample for a young couple with room to grow.
There are certainly site-built starter homes on the market today that can meet these space considerations and serve the needs of growing families. But the difference in costs can be, well, worlds apart. A single wide manufactured home such as the Karsten can run in the ballpark of $55,000 if you select many of the luxury amenities.
The current square-foot rate of building a comparable new home runs anywhere from $149 to $443, depending on luxury items. Even at the low end of the spectrum, a site-built counterpart to this single-wide would cost upwards of $175,000. That’s not a reasonable starter price tag for many young families.
Let’s continue along the path that you are a young couple who sunk a substantial down payment into a starter home and now are going to sell and purchase a larger living space. This once made perfect sense to everyday people chasing the American Dream of homeownership.
For argument’s sake, a double-wide home that would be the equivalent of a growing family’s second purchase might involve an uptick of 500- to 700-square-feet of additional living space. Models such as Champion’s Arizona deliver an area of 30x60 and 1,820-square-feet of family space.
The floor plan enjoys a master bedroom that is above 210 square feet with a private luxury bathroom of almost equal proportions. The children’s rooms swell to more than 120 square feet, the open kitchen-dining room floor plan makes the home feel incredibly spacious, and the popular model includes a family-sized living room. But it’s the price tag that hovers around $100,000 and includes manufactured home customization options that make this a smarter choice than the two-step site-built process. A new site-built home with the same living area would run $271,180, and that is based on the low end of construction costs.
It’s abundantly clear after comparing the single-wide, and double-wide manufactured home costs and living space that they far outpace the old-fashioned starter-home-then-buy-a-second-home route. In fact, home buyers would pay less and likely get more by buying the double-wide instead of a small starter home altogether. If you are planning a large family or envision your valued elders coming to live with you in their golden years, this is a basic comparison.
A large three-section manufactured home that includes three bathrooms, 4-plus bedrooms, and an impressive 2,754-square-feet of living space runs only in the area of $138,900. Floor plans generally include large windows, kitchens with top-tier amenities, master suites with luxury tubs and walk-in closets, laundry rooms, pantries, porches, foyers, home offices, and individual rooms for every child, among others. In terms of new construction costs, this big family home would exceed $400,000. Growing families could purchase a three-section manufactured home with all this living space for less than the new construction cost of a site-built starter home.
Manufactured homes are trending high with excessive construction costs reducing buying power and the space needed for young families. In the last five years, the number of new manufactured home sales have more than doubled. Hard-working Americans are securing a greater return on their investment by getting all their living space needs met with a manufactured home purchase.