During testimony before the United States Senate, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson stated his belief that manufactured housing plays a “vital role in meeting the nation’s affordable housing needs,” and supported removing barriers that may prevent some consumers from obtaining manufactured housing. Secretary Carson’s comments, which provided a detailed look into HUD’s vision for reforming the country’s housing finance system, were made on September 10, 2019, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. The plan, which consists of four pillars, was previously submitted to President Trump on September 5, 2019.
Reforms that directly involve manufactured housing are contemplated as a part of Pillar II, which is titled “Protect American Taxpayers.” Most notably, the secretary committed to engaging with state, local, and tribal partners to reduce “overly burdensome regulations that artificially raise the cost of housing development [and] that directly lead to the undersupply of affordable housing.” He also recognized that manufactured housing is in a unique position to help address the affordable housing shortage because it can be a “more affordable alternative to traditional site-built housing without compromising building safety and quality.”
HUD will also ensure that its own regulations do not unnecessarily impede the adoption of new building, construction, and design developments. In that regard, a formal framework will be put in place to encourage innovation. From an administrative standpoint, Secretary Carson explained that HUD will elevate the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs and an assistant secretary will be appointed to lead the office in its new role.
Secretary Carson’s comments and continued support for manufactured housing is encouraging for the industry. That said, we will wait to see how these reforms are implemented and whether they have the intended effect. Regardless, the promotion of manufactured housing as an affordable alternative to site-built homes is always helpful and welcomed.