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With the average sales price of houses hitting over $400,000 in some parts of the US, affordable housing options are crucial. This is where the manufactured home and modular home come into play. The choice between the two can be confusing. I have personally lived in both a manufactured home and a modular home and both were both great options for lower housing expenses.

Check out how the prices of homes have changed from 1965 on the interactive graph below. The increased interest in manufactured homes and modular homes has grown in response to the ever-increasing prices.

There may be a few questions: What are the differences between manufactured homes versus modular homes? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics of both manufactured and modular homes., the advantages and potential drawbacks. We’ll also provide an overview of Clayton Homes – a leading provider in both sectors – offering insights into how they are revolutionizing the industry with their modern manufactured and modular home offerings.

Got questions?

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I can earn commissions. If you decide to purchase through my links, it is at no cost to you.

Manufactured Homes versus Modular Homes

Regarding affordable housing options, manufactured and modular homes are like distant cousins – similar but with their quirks.

Manufactured or Modular Home

Construction Materials and Process

Manufactured homes, or mobile homes or trailers, are built off-site in factories according to federal building codes set by HUD. They’re like the cool kids who roll up on a steel chassis with wheels, ready to party.

Modular homes, on the other hand, comprise multiple sections called modules. These modules are constructed off-site in controlled factory environments under local building codes. They’re like puzzle pieces that get delivered to their permanent locations for assembly.

Cost Differences

When it comes to cost, manufactured homes are considered the budget-friendly option. But remember, sometimes you get what you pay for, so durability might not be their strongest suit. Not all manufactured homes are the same, and quality can differ between builders.

Installation Process

Installing a manufactured home is like a quick and easy date – it arrives primarily complete, so the setup is a breeze. Assembling a modular house on its destination can be pretty laborious, varying in difficulty depending on the design’s intricacy and the number of modules necessary.

How many people live in Manufactured Homes?

According to, 22 million Americans live in Manufactured Homes. The cost per square foot is about 50% of site-built homes. The prices of manufactured homes have gone up with the increased demand for affordable housing.

general facts about manufactured housing
Price per square foot of manufactured housing vs site built

How does Manufactured Housing look across the U.S.?

According to United State Census data, more manufactured homes are being shipped to the Southern part of the United States.

The map shows where manufactured homes are being shipped.
The darker green dots show a higher number of homes.
Manufactured shipments in 2021

Do Manufactured Homes and Modular Homes look different?

Before we get into the differences and similarities, I think it is worth looking at what a manufactured home versus a modular home looks like.

Check out a manufactured home. Take a 3D Tour to see the interior of the home.

Now to see a Modular Home. Take a 3D Tour of the interior.

Now that we are familiar with the interior of a manufactured home and a modular home, let’s compare them.

Advantages of Manufactured Homes


Don’t discount the potential of manufactured homes when considering your home-buying options. They’ve come far from their “mobile” ancestors and are now an attractive option for many prospective homeowners.


Manufactured dwellings are cost-effective, providing a lower rate per square foot than customary abodes. Save money without sacrificing comfort.

Ease of Transportability

Move it, move it. Manufactured homes can be transported to different locations, giving you the flexibility to change scenery or follow job opportunities.

Customization Options

Make it your own. Choose from various floor plans and design features to create your dream home at an affordable price. From kitchen layouts to energy-efficient appliances, the possibilities are endless.

Sustainability Features

Go green and save green. Many modern manufactured homes incorporate energy-efficient windows and insulation materials, reducing both environmental impact and utility bills.

Remember, while manufactured homes offer enticing advantages, it’s essential to consider potential drawbacks before making any decisions. But overall, the value proposition of today’s high-quality manufactured homes is hard to beat.

Advantages of Modular Homes


Modular homes are the cool kids of the housing world. They’re energy-efficient, durable, and built in a flash. You can customize modular homes to make them unique, reflecting your style and flair. Forbes says, “The Future of Real Estate is Modular.”

Energy Efficiency

Modular homes are like the superheroes of energy efficiency. They’re built-in factories with precision, so they’re super well-insulated. Say goodbye to high utility bills.


These homes are built tough, like a tank. They must withstand the journey from the factory to your lot, so you know they’re built to last. And with warranties on major systems, you can sleep soundly knowing you’re covered.

Speedy Construction Time

Who has time to wait around for a house to be built? Not you. With modular homes, you’ll be sipping lemonade on your porch in no time. No delays from pesky weather or other factors.

Bespoke Design Options

Why settle for a cookie-cutter house when you can have a custom masterpiece? With modular homes, you’re the boss. Choose floor plans to fixtures, and make your home reflect your unique style. This is my absolute favorite part!

Things to think about – Manufactured Homes

Think about it

While manufactured homes offer benefits, there are things to consider:

Limited Financing Options

Getting a loan for a manufactured home can be trickier than a traditional house. You might have to rely on chattel loans with higher interest rates and shorter terms. Here is more information on financing for manufactured homes.

Potential Depreciation

Unlike site-built homes, manufactured houses may depreciate over time. Factors like location and upkeep can influence this trend.

Difficulty Obtaining Permits for Installation

Getting permits for installing a manufactured home can be a hassle due to zoning laws and restrictions in certain areas.

Stereotypes and Stigma Associated With Manufactured Housing

Despite improvements, some people still hold outdated perceptions about manufactured homes being inferior or “cheap.” This stigma can impact resale value and acceptance within communities.

Lack Of Customization Options Compared To Site-Built Homes

While there is room for customization, manufactured homes have limits compared to building a house from scratch with an architect’s design.

Things to think about Modular Homes

Think about it

Modular homes: the good, the bad, and the in-between.

Higher Costs Compared to Manufactured Homes

Modular homes may be fancy but have a fancier price tag. The quality materials and labor-intensive construction process make them more expensive than their manufactured counterparts. So, get ready to break the bank.

Limited Land Availability

Are you looking for land to plop your modular home? Good luck. Unlike manufactured homes, modular homes need a foundation on-site. Finding suitable land can be a real headache. It’s like looking for a proverbial needle in the hayfield.

Potential Issues with Local Zoning Laws

Oh, the joys of zoning laws. They can restrict where you can put your new home or even prevent you from having one. You better research before you end up with a fancy lawn ornament.

Slightly Longer Construction Timeframe

Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to modular homes. They may be faster than traditional houses, but each module needs to be assembled individually on-site. It’s like a puzzle that takes a little longer to solve.

So, modular homes have their perks, but they also have their quirks. If you’re ready to shell out some extra cash, navigate land challenges, and dance with zoning laws, then embrace the modular life.

Clayton Homes – A Leader in Manufactured and Modular Housing

Clayton Homes

Where affordability meets quality in manufactured and modular housing, with decades of expertise, Clayton Homes is dedicated to creating cost-effective, energy-efficient homes that meet the highest standards.

A Wide Range of Options

Clayton Homes has a floor plan for every taste and need, from single-section homes to multi-section dwellings. No matter what your needs are, Clayton Homes has you covered. Clayton Homes have a hybrid design to bring manufactured housing and site-built homes together. Learn more about this option from Clayton Homes.

Check out a CrossMod Home. Take a 3D Tour of the interior.

Innovation at Its Best

Clayton Homes take pride in their innovative construction methods. They use green building materials and energy-efficient appliances to reduce environmental impact and save money on utility bills.

Affordability without Compromise

Clayton Homes offer premium features like hardwood cabinets and spa-like bathrooms, all while keeping affordability at the forefront. They know how to give you the best bang for your buck.

Clayton Homes are built to last

Simplified Homeownership Process

Clayton Homes don’t just build houses; they make the entire homeownership process a breeze. With financing assistance, insurance options, and post-purchase support, they’ve got your back every step of the way.

Educational Resources

Clayton Homes go the extra mile by providing educational resources on their website. From understanding credit scores to maintenance tips, they’ve got you covered.

Do you still need help deciding on manufactured homes versus modular homes? Clayton Homes deliver value-packed housing solutions that won’t disappoint. Check out these resources to help you explore more about Clayton Homes by clicking the button below.

Learn more about Clayton Homes

Quick Comparison

Here is a comparison between the Clayton Homes manufactured and modular homes. The CrossMod Home is also mentioned, which is a Hybrid of a manufactured home and a site-built home. You can read more about them here.

Manufactured cross mod and modular homes

Do you still need more information on manufactured homes versus modular homes?

Here are a few sources that helped me write this article that you may also find helpful.

Quick Recap: Manufactured Homes versus Modular Homes

  • More affordable than modular homes
  • Meet HUD building standards
  • Some customization available
  • Appraises to other manufactured homes
  • More zoning restrictions
  • Financing a little harder
  • Qualifies for Conventional financing
  • Meet State building standards
  • Some customization available
  • Longer time to build
  • More expensive than manufactured homes
  • Moderate zoning restrictions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a kit home and a modular home?

A kit home is a bit like a puzzle and could come unassembled. A modular home is assembled when delivered.

I have never purchased a home before. Is there a buying guide?

You are in luck! Here is a 9-step must-have guide to making your buying experience a breeze. Check the guide out.

When is the best time to save money on mobile homes?

Check out the Clayton Homes Red Tag Clearance Sale, which is held typically during the summer months.

What are the walls in manufactured homes made of?

The walls in manufactured homes are typically made of a combination of materials such as gypsum board (drywall), wood, or metal studs, insulation, and a decorative material such as vinyl or paneling.

Are modular homes as sturdy as stick-built?

Modular homes are built to the same building codes and standards as stick-built homes and are generally considered just as sturdy.

Is a modular home the same as a tiny home?

No. A modular home is a prefabricated home built in a factory and then transported to the site. On the other hand, a tiny home is generally a small, self-contained dwelling that is often built on wheels and designed to maximize limited space.

Why is it called a modular home?

A modular home is called so because it is constructed using prefabricated modules or sections that are manufactured off-site in a factory. These modules are then transported to the home site and assembled together to create a complete home.


Understanding the difference between manufactured homes versus modular homes is crucial when deciding which home to buy, so let’s break it down.

Manufactured homes are affordable, quick to build, and offer design flexibility, but they may need more financing options and depreciate over time.

On the other hand, modular homes boast higher quality construction, energy efficiency, and customizable floor plans, but they can be pricier upfront and require additional costs for transportation and assembly.

Both types have unique features, so it’s essential to do your research before deciding. Check out reputable companies like Clayton Homes for high-quality options.

No matter your choice, it will be the right one for you and your family.

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