Manufactured Housing: The Future Is Now

09 / 06 / 2019

By Owen Mitford

When you were a child, what did you imagine your adult “home of the future” looking like? For many people (myself included) there was a Jetsons-influenced appeal to what the houses of tomorrow could do when it came to technology, whether that meant having a robot cooking breakfast—a la Rosie on The Jetsons—or an interactive touchscreen mirror in the bedroom, like in Disneyland’s House of the Future exhibit. And in the mid-Twentieth Century, at least one pop culture icon, legendary animator Tex Avery, even went so far as to imagine that most homes would be prefabricated (aka manufactured housing): tech-savvy on the inside, but as simple to assemble as unwrapping a present (as he illustrates so deftly and humorously in his The House of Tomorrow cartoon).

Turns out, Mr. Avery was correct: It’s becoming increasingly obvious that manufactured housing is primed to be the standard-bearer for the future of housing in the United States and beyond. In a recent feature by Quartz, the forward-thinking magazine outlined ways in which the housing market will shift and change in the coming months and years—with manufactured housing named as an integral part. Below are several key takeaways from the series, and how pre-fab homes are helping to make futuristic dreams a day-to-day reality.

Order Your Home Online: What once seemed wildly impossible—ordering an entire house online—is now quite feasible, thanks to the wonders of manufactured homes and, obviously, the Internet. “Amazon already sells manufactured homes (or prefabs) from third-party vendors,” Quartz notes. “With Amazon steadily expanding the line of ‘Amazon Basics’ products it offers in other departments—like clothing and computer accessories—can an Amazon-branded dwelling be far behind?”

Built-in Technology:
The piece also points to how companies like Google and Amazon are experimenting with wiring interactive technologies—like Amazon’s Alexa, for example—into homes. This next-level futuristic upgrade is far easier to implement in a manufactured home than, say, rewiring a 1930s farmhouse.

It’s What Millennials Want: Bottom line? Pre-fab homes are the future because they want Millennials increasingly want. In a related piece from earlier this year, Quartz declared that it’s becoming “economically desirable” to live in a mobile home community. “With changing demographics comes demand for a different kind of lifestyle and what would have once been undesirable now comes with modern, energy-efficient homes, lawns, playgrounds and swimming pools. Many are located near the sea or lakes. These modern incarnations of trailer parks are an increasingly attractive choice for retiring baby boomers looking to extract equity from the family home yet still retain their own standalone home—and, crucially, for millennial-age young families.”

We might not need special second-floor garages for our flying cars just yet, but there’s no doubt that manufactured homes are—and will continue to be—on the cutting edge of home technology.

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