This section discusses both manufactured (or mobile) homes and modular housing, with a broad range of housing types between both of these categories. Manufactured homes are typically more affordable than traditional single family homes. These homes are typically owned by their owners, and located in mobile home parks where the land is leased. The cost to purchase new or existing mobile/manufactured housing is typically less than for a single family home. However, a significant number of mobile homes are older, single-wide units, in need of repair, and may be beyond their useful life. Residents in these homes are often low income and have few options to sell, purchase a new mobile home, or relocate their homes, as most parks will not take older single-wide homes.
According to Snohomish County’s “Housing Characteristics and Needs in Snohomish County, January 2014” report, some 5.4% of households in the County live in mobile homes. A recent survey by Snohomish County found there were 96 mobile home parks in Snohomish County, with 6,000 mobile/manufactured homes. The majority of these mobile home parks are located in the SWUGA – 76 mobile home parks with approximately 5,253 units. Another 20 mobile home parks with 747 units are located in North and East Snohomish County. These figures do not include the manufactured homes that may be located outside of parks, typically in more rural settings.
There are some programs that help mobile/manufactured homeowners, including affordable mobile home parks operated by HASCO, first-time homebuyer purchase assistance programs, and minor home repair and weatherization programs. While remaining an affordable form of homeownership, many of these parks are located in rapidly developing areas, and as the economy strengthens may be at risk for redevelopment. Options for preservation are discussed in this section.
Modular development is a more general term that refers to housing that is built in pieces in factories and assembled on site, allowing for more affordable, efficient development. While modular homes often comply with local building codes, and are treated as other single family homes by zoning, manufactured homes must comply with HUD building codes, and are more likely to be treated differently by zoning. While there has been a stigma in the past about the design and construction quality of factory-built housing, standards are much higher today.