Manufactured homes have come a long way. Sturdier, more attractive and higher performing, this type of house could become more common as buyers seek affordable alternatives.

Factory-built homes approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development include features such as open floorplans, high-efficiency propane appliances, and accessibility designs that allow occupants to age in place.

“Manufactured HUD … homes are emerging as a powerful solution to the housing crisis plaguing many communities across the nation,” reports Gary Fleisher, editor of “Their potential to alleviate this crisis becomes all the more apparent when we envision a future where these homes are embraced in every residential zoning neighborhood.”

Properly constructed off site, the houses are virtually indistinguishable from their site-built, more expensive counterparts. Take Blackberry Hill Village, for example. The recently constructed community for older residents in Berwick, Maine includes nearly 80 manufactured homes on 73 acres. The homes sit on concrete foundations, have pitched roofs, two-car garages and high-performance propane appliances. It’s an affordable and desirable neighborhood with communal amenities such pickleball courts and walking trails.

These developments can be constructed faster and with less labor. Plus, they can be built outside urban and suburban areas where land is cheaper. No need for natural gas infrastructure, either. With propane, developers can provide abundant, clean-burning fuel for gas appliances and amenities, as well as reliable backup power.

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